Benchmark assessment of density functional methods on group II-VI MX (M = Zn, Cd; X = S, Se, Te) quantum dots

Jon M. Azpiroz, Jesus M. Ugalde, Ivan Infante

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this work, we build a benchmark data set of geometrical parameters, vibrational normal modes, and low-lying excitation energies for MX quantum dots, with M = Cd, Zn, and X = S, Se, Te. The reference database has been constructed by ab initio resolution-of-identity second-order approximate coupled cluster RI-CC2/def2-TZVPP calculations on (MX)6 model molecules in the wurtzite structure. We have tested 26 exchange-correlation density functionals, ranging from local generalized gradient approximation (GGA) and hybrid GGA to meta-GGA, meta-hybrid, and long-range corrected. The best overall functional is the hybrid PBE0 that outperforms all other functionals, especially for excited state energies, which are of particular relevance for the systems studied here. Among the DFT methodologies with no Hartree-Fock exchange, the M06-L is the best one. Local GGA functionals usually provide satisfactory results for geometrical structures and vibrational frequencies but perform rather poorly for excitation energies. Regarding the CdSe cluster, we also present a test of several basis sets that include relativistic effects via effective core potentials (ECPs) or via the ZORA approximation. The best basis sets in terms of computational efficiency and accuracy are the SBKJC and def2-SV(P). The LANL2DZ basis set, commonly employed nowadays on these types of nanoclusters, performs very disappointingly. Finally, we also provide some suggestions on how to perform calculations on larger systems keeping a balance between computational load and accuracy. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-89
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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