Low Lying ππ* State of Heteroaromatic Molecules: A Challenge for Excited State Methods
The description of low-lying ππ* states of linear acenes by standard electronic structure methods is known to be challenging. Here, we broaden the framework of this problem by considering a set of fused heteroaromatic rings and demonstrate that standard electronic structure methods do not provide a balanced description of the two (typically) lowest singlet state (La and Lb) excitations. While the Lb state is highly sensitive to correlation effects, La suffers from the same drawbacks as charge transfer excitations. We show that the comparison between CIS/CIS(D) can serve as a diagnostic for detecting the two problematic excited states. Standard TD-DFT and even its spin-flip variant lead to inaccurate excitation energies and interstate gaps, with only a double hybrid functional performing somewhat better. The complication inherent to a balanced description of these states is so important that even CC2 and ADC(2) do not necessarily match the ADC(3) reference.