Hans-Joachim Werner, Christoph Köppl, Qianli Ma, Max Schwilk
A well-parallelized local singles and doubles coupled-cluster (LCCSD) method using pair natural virtual orbitals (PNOs) is presented. The PNOs are constructed using large domains of projected atomic orbitals (PAOs) and orbital specific virtual orbitals (OSVs). We introduce a hierarchy of close, weak, and distant pairs, based on pair energies evaluated by local Møller–Plesset perturbation theory (LMP2). In contrast to most previous implementations of LCCSD methods, the close and weak pairs are not approximated by LMP2 but treated by higher-order methods. This leads to greatly improved accuracy for large systems, in particular when long-range dispersion interactions are important. Close pair amplitudes are optimized using approximate LCCSD equations, in which slowly decaying terms that mutually cancel at long-range are neglected. For weak pairs, the same approximations are used, but in addition, the nonlinear terms are neglected (coupled electron pair approximation). Distant pairs are treated by spin-component scaled (SCS)-LMP2 using multipole approximations. For efficiency reasons, various projection approximations are also introduced. The impact of these approximations on absolute and relative energies depends on the PNO domain sizes. The errors are found to be negligible, provided that sufficiently large PNO domains are used for close and weak pairs. For the selection of these domains the usual natural orbital occupation number criterion is found to be insufficient, and an additional energy criterion is used. For extended one-dimensional systems, the computational effort of the method scales nearly linearly with the number of correlated electrons, but the linear scaling regime is usually not reached in real-life applications for three-dimensional systems. Nevertheless, due to the parallelization that is efficient up to about 100–200 CPU cores (dependent on the molecular size), accurate calculations for three-dimensional molecules with about 100 atoms and augmented triple-ζ basis sets (e.g., cc-pVTZ-F12) can be carried out in 1–3 h of elapsed time (depending on the molecular structure and the number of CPU cores, excluding the time for Hartree–Fock). The convergence of the results with respect to the thresholds and options that control the domain, pair, and projection approximations is extensively tested. Benchmark examples for several difficult and large cases are presented, which demonstrate that the errors of relative energies (e.g., reaction energies, barrier heights) caused by the pair and projection approximations can be reduced to below 1 kJ mol–1. The remaining errors are mainly caused by the finite PAO domains. The larger these are made, the more intramolecular or intermolecular basis set superposition errors are introduced, and the canonical results are approached only very slowly. This problem is eliminated in the explicitly correlated variant of our method (PNO-LCCSD-F12), which will be described in a separate paper, along with a larger set of benchmark calculations.