First-order symmetry-adapted perturbation theory for multiplet splittings
We present a symmetry-adapted perturbation theory (SAPT) for the interaction of two high-spin open-shell molecules (described by their restricted open-shell Hartree-Fock determinants) resulting in low-spin states of the complex. The previously available SAPT formalisms, except for some system-specific studies for few-electron complexes, were restricted to the high-spin state of the interacting system. Thus, the new approach provides, for the first time, a SAPT-based estimate of the splittings between different spin states of the complex. We have derived and implemented the lowest-order SAPT term responsible for these splittings, that is, the first-order exchange energy. We show that within the so-called S-2 approximation commonly used in SAPT (neglecting effects that vanish as fourth or higher powers of intermolecular overlap integrals), the first-order exchange energies for all multiplets are linear combinations of two matrix elements: a diagonal exchange term that determines the spin-averaged effect and a spin-flip term responsible for the splittings between the states. The numerical factors in this linear combination are determined solely by the Clebsch-Gordan coefficients: accordingly, the S-2 approximation implies a Heisenberg Hamiltonian picture with a single coupling strength parameter determining all the splittings. The new approach is cast into both molecular-orbital and atomic-orbital expressions: the latter enable an efficient density-fitted implementation. We test the newly developed formalism on several open-shell complexes ranging from diatomic systems (Li center dot center dot center dot H, Mn center dot center dot center dot Mn, center dot center dot center dot) to the phenalenyl dimer. Published by AIP Publishing.