Benchmarking Semiempirical Methods to Compute Electrochemical Formal Potentials

Rebecca L.M. Gieseking, Mark A. Ratner, George C. Schatz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Computational methods to predict and tune electrochemical redox potentials are important for the development of energy technologies. Here, we benchmark several semiempirical models to compute reduction potentials of organic molecules, comparing approaches based on (1) energy differences between the S0 and one-electron-reduced D0 states of the isolated molecules and (2) an orbital energy shift approach based on tuning the charge-Transfer triplet energy of the Ag20-molecule complex; the second model enables explicit modeling of electrode-molecule interactions. For molecules in solution, the two models yield nearly identical results. Both PM7 and PM6 predict formal potentials with only a slight loss of accuracy compared to standard density functional theory models, and the results are robust across several choices of geometries and implicit solvent models. PM6 and PM7 show dramatically improved accuracy over older semiempirical Hamiltonians (MNDO, AM1, PM3, and INDO/S). However, our recently developed INDO parameters model the electronic properties of our Ag20 model electrode much more accurately than does PM7. These results demonstrate the need for further development of semiempirical models to accurately model molecules on surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6809-6818
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 23 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Benchmarking Semiempirical Methods to Compute Electrochemical Formal Potentials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this