Ab initio and density functional theory reinvestigation of gas-phase sulfuric acid monohydrate and ammonium hydrogen sulfate


We have calculated the thermochemical parameters for the reactions H2SO4 + H2O <-> H2SO4 center dot H2O and H2SO4 + NH3 <-> H2SO4 center dot NH3 using the B3LYP and PW91 functionals, MP2 perturbation theory and four different basis sets. Different methods and basis sets yield very different results with respect to, for example, the reaction free energies. A large part, but not all, of these differences are caused by basis set superposition error (BSSE), which is on the order of 1-3 kcal mol(-1) for most method/basis set combinations used in previous studies. Complete basis set extrapolation (CBS) calculations using the cc-pV(X + d) Z and aug-cc-pV( X + d) Z basis sets ( with X = D, T, Q) at the B3LYP level indicate that if BSSE errors of less than 0.2 kcal mol(-1) are desired in uncorrected calculations, basis sets of at least aug-cc-pV(T + d) Z quality should be used. The use of additional augmented basis functions is also shown to be important, as the BSSE error is significant for the nonaugmented basis sets even at the quadruple-zeta level. The effect of anharmonic corrections to the zero-point energies and thermal contributions to the free energy are shown to be around 0.4 kcal mol(-1) for the H2SO4 center dot H2O cluster at 298 K. Single-point CCSD(T) calculations for the H2SO4 center dot H2O cluster also indicate that B3LYP and MP2 calculations reproduce the CCSD( T) energies well, whereas the PW91 results are significantly overbinding. However, basis-set limit extrapolations at the CCSD(T) level indicate that the B3LYP binding energies are too low by ca. 1-2 kcal/mol. This probably explains the difference of about 2 kcal mol(-1) for the free energy of the H2SO4 + H2O <-> H2SO4 center dot H2O reaction between the counterpoise-corrected B3LYP calculations with large basis sets and the diffusion-based experimental values of S. M. Ball, D. R. Hanson, F. L Eisele and P. H. McMurry (J. Phys. Chem. A. 2000, 104, 1715). Topological analysis of the electronic charge density based on the quantum theory of atoms in molecules (QTAIM) shows that different method/basis set combinations lead to qualitatively different bonding patterns for the H2SO4 center dot NH3 cluster. Using QTAIM analysis, we have also defined a proton transfer degree parameter which may be useful in further studies.