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We analyze the energy landscape of the sixth crystal structure prediction blind test targets with various first principles and semi-empirical quantum chemical methodologies. A new benchmark set of 59 crystal structures (termed POLY59) for testing quantum chemical methods based on the blind test target crystals is presented. We focus on different means to include London dispersion interactions within the density functional theory (DFT) framework. We show the impact of pairwise dispersion corrections like the semi-empirical D2 scheme, the Tkatchenko–Scheffler (TS) method, and the density-dependent dispersion correction dDsC. Recent methodological progress includes higher-order contributions in both the many-body and multipole expansions. We use the D3 correction with Axilrod–Teller–Muto type three-body contribution, the TS based many-body dispersion (MBD), and the nonlocal van der Waals density functional (vdW-DF2). The density functionals with D3 and MBD correction provide an energy ranking of the blind test polymorphs in excellent agreement with the experimentally found structures. As a computationally less demanding method, we test our recently presented minimal basis Hartree–Fock method (HF-3c) and a density functional tight-binding Hamiltonian (DFTB). Considering the speed-up of three to four orders of magnitudes, the energy ranking provided by the low-cost methods is very reasonable. We compare the computed geometries with the corresponding X-ray data where TPSS-D3 performs best. The importance of zero-point vibrational energy and thermal effects on crystal densities is highlighted.

Supporting information


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Relative lattice energies on the compiled benchmark set with all applied methodologies


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Optimized structures of the POLY59 benchmark set in VASP (POSCAR) and CIF (tpssd3.cif) format

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