The Journal of chemical physics

Vertical and adiabatic excitations in anthracene from quantum Monte Carlo: Constrained energy minimization for structural and electronic excited-state properties in the JAGP ansatz.

PMID 26049481


We study the ionization energy, electron affinity, and the π → π(∗) ((1)La) excitation energy of the anthracene molecule, by means of variational quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) methods based on a Jastrow correlated antisymmetrized geminal power (JAGP) wave function, developed on molecular orbitals (MOs). The MO-based JAGP ansatz allows one to rigorously treat electron transitions, such as the HOMO → LUMO one, which underlies the (1)La excited state. We present a QMC optimization scheme able to preserve the rank of the antisymmetrized geminal power matrix, thanks to a constrained minimization with projectors built upon symmetry selected MOs. We show that this approach leads to stable energy minimization and geometry relaxation of both ground and excited states, performed consistently within the correlated QMC framework. Geometry optimization of excited states is needed to make a reliable and direct comparison with experimental adiabatic excitation energies. This is particularly important in π-conjugated and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, where there is a strong interplay between low-lying energy excitations and structural modifications, playing a functional role in many photochemical processes. Anthracene is an ideal benchmark to test these effects. Its geometry relaxation energies upon electron excitation are of up to 0.3 eV in the neutral (1)La excited state, while they are of the order of 0.1 eV in electron addition and removal processes. Significant modifications of the ground state bond length alternation are revealed in the QMC excited state geometry optimizations. Our QMC study yields benchmark results for both geometries and energies, with values below chemical accuracy if compared to experiments, once zero point energy effects are taken into account.

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