Optical Rotation Calculated with Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory: The OR45 Benchmark

Time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) computations are performed for 42 organic molecules and three transition metal complexes, with experimental molar optical rotations ranging from 2 to 2 × 104 deg cm2 dmol–1. The performances of the global hybrid functionals B3LYP, PBE0, and BHLYP, and of the range-separated functionals CAM-B3LYP and LC-PBE0 (the latter being fully long-range corrected), are investigated. The performance of different basis sets is studied. When compared to liquid-phase experimental data, the range-separated functionals do, on average, not perform better than B3LYP and PBE0. Median relative deviations between calculations and experiment range from 25 to 29%. A basis set recently proposed for optical rotation calculations (LPol-ds) on average does not give improved results compared to aug-cc-pVDZ in TDDFT calculations with B3LYP. Individual cases are discussed in some detail, among them norbornenone for which the LC-PBE0 functional produced an optical rotation that is close to available data from coupled-cluster calculations, but significantly smaller in magnitude than the liquid-phase experimental value. Range-separated functionals and BHLYP perform well for helicenes and helicene derivatives. Metal complexes pose a challenge to first-principles calculations of optical rotation.