Assessing the Accuracy of Density Functional and Semiempirical Wave Function Methods for Water Nanoparticles: Comparing Binding and Relative Energies of (H2O)16 and (H2O)17 to CCSD(T) Results
The binding energies and relative conformational energies of five configurations of the water 16-mer are computed using 61 levels of density functional (DF) theory, 12 methods combining DF theory with molecular mechanics damped dispersion (DF-MM), seven semiempirical-wave function (SWF) methods, and five methods combining SWF theory with molecular mechanics damped dispersion (SWF-MM). The accuracies of the computed energies are assessed by comparing them to recent high-level ab initio results; this assessment is more relevant to bulk water than previous tests on small clusters because a 16-mer is large enough to have water molecules that participate in more than three hydrogen bonds. We find that for water 16-mer binding energies the best DF, DF-MM, SWF, and SWF-MM methods (and their mean unsigned errors in kcal/mol) are respectively M06-2X (1.6), ?B97X-D (2.3), SCC-DFTB-?h (35.2), and PM3-D (3.2). We also mention the good performance of CAM-B3LYP (1.8), M05-2X (1.9), and TPSSLYP (3.0). In contrast, for relative energies of various water nanoparticle 16-mer structures, the best methods (and mean unsigned errors in kcal/mol), in the same order of classes of methods, are SOGGA11-X (0.3), ?B97X-D (0.2), PM6 (0.4), and PMOv1 (0.6). We also mention the good performance of LC-?PBE-D3 (0.3) and ?B97X (0.4). When both relative and binding energies are taken into consideration, the best methods overall (out of the 85 tested) are M05-2X without molecular mechanics and ?B97X-D when molecular mechanics corrections are included; with considerably higher average errors and considerably lower cost, the best SWF or SWF-MM method is PMOv1. We use six of the best methods for binding energies of the water 16-mers to calculate the binding energies of water hexamers and water 17-mers to test whether these methods are also reliable for binding energy calculations on other types of water clusters.