Nonadiabatic dynamics with spin-flip versus linear-response time-dependent density functional theory: A case study for the protonated Schiff base C5H6NH2+


Nonadiabatic trajectory surface hopping simulations are reported for trans-C5H6NH2+, a model of the rhodopsin chromophore, using the augmented fewest-switches algorithm. Electronic structure calculations were performed using time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) in both its conventional linear-response (LR) and its spin-flip (SF) formulations. In the SF-TDDFT case, spin contamination in the low-lying singlet states is removed by projecting out the lowest triplet component during iterative solution of the TDDFT eigenvalue problem. The results show that SF-TDDFT is able to correctly describe the photoisomerization of trans-C5H6NH2+, with favorable comparison to previous studies using multireference electronic structure methods. In contrast, conventional LR-TDDFT affords qualitatively different photodynamics due to an incorrect excited-state potential surface near the Franck-Condon region. In addition, the photochemistry (involving
pre-twisting of the central double bond) appears to be different for SF- and LR-TDDFT, which may be a consequence of different conical intersection topographies afforded by these two methods. The present results contrast with previous surface-hopping studies suggesting that the LR-TDDFT method’s incorrect topology around S1/S0 conical intersections is immaterial to the photodynamics.

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