Implementation and application of basis set superposition error-correction schemes to the theoretical modeling of weak intermolecular interactions

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This thesis deals with the so-called Basis Set Superposition Error (BSSE) from both a methodological and a practical point of view. The purpose of the present thesis is twofold: (a) to contribute step ahead in the correct characterization of weakly bound complexes and, (b) to shed light the understanding of the actual implications of the basis set extension effects in the ab intio calculations and contribute to the BSSE debate. The existing BSSE-correction procedures are deeply analyzed, compared, validated and, if necessary, improved. A new interpretation of the counterpoise (CP) method is used in order to define counterpoise-corrected descriptions of the molecular complexes. This novel point of view allows for a study of the BSSE-effects not only in the interaction energy but also on the potential energy surface and, in general, in any property derived from the molecular energy and its derivatives A program has been developed for the calculation of CP-corrected geometry optimizations and vibrational frequencies, also using several counterpoise schemes for the case of molecular clusters. The method has also been implemented in Gaussian98 revA10 package. The Chemical Hamiltonian Approach (CHA) methodology has been also implemented at the RHF and UHF levels of theory for an arbitrary number interacting systems using an algorithm based on block-diagonal matrices. Along with the methodological development, the effects of the BSSE on the properties of molecular complexes have been discussed in detail. The CP and CHA methodologies are used for the determination of BSSE-corrected molecular complexes properties related to the Potential Energy Surfaces and molecular wavefunction, respectively. First, the behaviour of both BSSE-correction schemes are systematically compared at different levels of theory and basis sets for a number of hydrogen-bonded complexes. The Complete Basis Set (CBS) limit of both uncorrected and CP-corrected molecular properties like stabilization energies and intermolecular distances has also been determined, showing the capital importance of the BSSE correction. Several controversial topics of the BSSE correction are addressed as well. The application of the counterpoise method is applied to internal rotational barriers. The importance of the nuclear relaxation term is also pointed out. The viability of the CP method for dealing with charged complexes and the BSSE effects on the double-well PES blue-shifted hydrogen bonds is also studied in detail. In the case of the molecular clusters the effect of high-order BSSE effects introduced with the hierarchical counterpoise scheme is also determined. The effect of the BSSE on the electron density-related properties is also addressed. The first-order electron density obtained with the CHA/F and CHA/DFT methodologies was used to assess, both graphically and numerically, the redistribution of the charge density upon BSSE-correction. Several tools like the Atoms in Molecules topologycal analysis, density difference maps, Quantum Molecular Similarity, and Chemical Energy Component Analysis were used to deeply analyze, for the first time, the BSSE effects on the electron density of several hydrogen bonded complexes of increasing size. The indirect effect of the BSSE on intermolecular perturbation theory results is also pointed out It is shown that for a BSSE-free SAPT study of hydrogen fluoride clusters, the use of a counterpoise-corrected PES is essential in order to determine the proper molecular geometry to perform the SAPT analysis. ​
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