S.Y.Y. Wong, P.N. Roy,* and A. Brown*
Can. J. Chem. 87, 1022–1029. [Tom Ziegler Special Issue]
Publication year: 2009

The ground (X1A′) and two lowest lying excited singlet states (11A″ and 21A′) of methyl hypochlorite have been examined using ab initio electronic structure techniques to validate computationally efficient methods, upon which direct dynamics can be based, versus high-level ones, for which direct dynamics would be intractable. Ground-state equilibrium geometries and vibrational frequencies determined using density functional theory (DFT) with the 6-31G(d) basis set are tested against coupled-cluster theory (CCSD(T)) results from the literature. Vertical excitation energies and transition dipole moments calculated at the complete active space self-consistent field CASSCF/6-31+G(d) level of theory are benchmarked against multireference configuration interaction (MRCI) results with the aug-cc-pVXZ (X = D, T, Q) family of basis sets. The excited-state gradients that will govern the classical dynamics are compared for CASSCF/6-31+G(d) versus MRCI/aug-cc-pVXZ (X = D, T). To carry out the ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD), existing electronic structure codes have been interfaced with the molecular modelling toolkit (MMTK), an open-source program library for molecular simulation applications. We use two examples to demonstrate the use of direct dynamics in MMTK: a canonical ground-state trajectory to sample positions and momenta, and an excited-state microcanonical trajectory based on CASSCF. The work presented here forms the basis for future study of the photodissociation of CH3OCl. As well, the implementation of AIMD within MMTK provides a useful tool for examining a variety of other research problems.