On the Choice of Coordinate Origin in Length Gauge Optical Rotation Calculations


In this work, we explore the issue of origin dependence in optical rotation (OR) calculations in the length dipole gauge (LG) using standard approximate methods belonging to density functional theory (DFT) and coupled cluster (CC) theory. We use the origin-invariant LG approach, LG(OI), that we recently proposed as reference for the calculations, and we study whether a proper choice of coordinate origin and molecular orientation can be made such that diagonal elements of the LG-OR tensor match those of the LG(OI) tensor. Using a numerical search algorithm, we show that multiple spatial orientations can be found where the LG and LG(OI) results match. However, a simple analytical procedure provides a spatial orientation where the origin of the coordinate system is close to the center of mass of the molecule. At the same time, we also show that putting the origin at the center of mass is not an ideal choice for every molecule (relative errors in the OR up to 70% can be obtained in out test set). Finally, we show that the choice of coordinate origin based on the analytical procedure is transferable across different methods and it is superior to putting the origin in the center of mass or center of nuclear charge. This is important because the LG(OI) approach is trivial to implement for DFT, but not necessarily for non-variational methods in the CC family. Therefore, one can determine an optimal coordinate origin at DFT level and use it for standard LG-CC response calculations.


Supplementary material

Supporting Information: On the Choice of Coordinate Origin in Length Gauge Optical Rotation Calculations
The Supporting Information includes the raw data for the tables and figures in the main text, and the geometrical coordinates of the test molecules.