An evaluation of harmonic vibrational frequency scale factors

Jeffrey P. Merrick, Damian Moran*, Leo Radom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1893 Citations (Scopus)


Scale factors for obtaining fundamental vibrational frequencies, low-frequency vibrational frequencies, zero-point vibrational energies (ZPVEs), and thermal contributions to enthalpy and entropy have been derived through a least-squares approach from harmonic frequencies determined at more than 100 levels of theory. Wave function procedures (HF, MP2, QCISD, QCISD(T), CCSD, and CCSD(T)) and a large and representative range of density functional theory (DFT) approaches (B3-LYP, BMK, EDF2, M05-2X, MPWB1K, 03-LYP, PBE, TPSS, etc.) have been examined in conjunction with basis sets such as 6-31G(d), 6-31+G(d,p), 6-31G-(2df,p), 6-311+G(d,p), and 6-311 +G(2df,p). The vibrational frequency scale factors were determined by a comparison of theoretical harmonic frequencies with the corresponding experimental fundamentals utilizing a standard set of 1066 individual vibrations. ZPVE scale factors were generally obtained from a comparison of the computed ZPVEs with experimental ZPVEs for a smaller standard set of 39 molecules, though the effect of expansion to a 48 molecule data set was also examined. In addition to evaluating the scale factors for a wide range of levels of theory, we have also probed the effect on scale factors of varying the percentage of incorporated exact exchange in hybrid DFT calculations using a modified B3-LYP functional. This has revealed a near-linear relationship between the magnitude of the scale factor and the proportion of exact exchange. Finally, we have investigated the effect of basis set size on HF, MP2, B3-LYP, and BMK scale factors by deriving values with basis sets ranging from 6-31G(d) up to 6-311++G(3df,3pd) as well as with basis sets in the cc-pVnZ and aug-cc-pVnZ series and with the TZV2P basis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11683-11700
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2007


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