Activation energies of pericyclic reactions: performance of DFT, MP2, and CBS-QB3 methods for the prediction of activation barriers and reaction energetics of 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions, and revised activation enthalpies for a standard set of hydrocarbon pericyclic reactions.

Research paper by Daniel H DH Ess, K N KN Houk

Indexed on: 27 Jul '06Published on: 27 Jul '06Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry A


Activation barriers and reaction energetics for the three main classes of 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions, including nine different reactions, were evaluated with the MPW1K and B3LYP density functional methods, MP2, and the multicomponent CBS-QB3 method. The CBS-QB3 values were used as standards for 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition activation barriers and reaction energetics, and the density functional theory (DFT) and MP2 methods were benchmarked against these values. The MPW1K/6-31G* method and basis set performs best for activation barriers, with a mean absolute deviation (MAD) value of 1.1 kcal/mol. The B3LYP/6-31G* method and basis set performs best for reaction enthalpies, with a MAD value of 2.4 kcal/mol, while the MPW1K method shows large errors for reaction energetics. The MP2 method gives the expected systematic underestimation of barriers. Concerted and nearly synchronous transition structures are predicted by all DFT and MP2 methods. Also reported are revised estimated 0 K experimental activation enthalpies for a standard set of hydrocarbon pericyclic reactions and updated comparisons to experiment for DFT, ab initio, and multicomponent methods. B3LYP and MPW1K methods with MAD values of 1.5 and 2.1 kcal/mol, respectively, fortuitously outperform the multicomponent CBS-QB3 method, which has a MAD value of 2.3. The MAD value of the O3LYP functional improves to 2.4 kcal/mol from the previously reported 3.0 kcal/mol.