In previous publications, it was shown that an efficient local coupled cluster method with single- and double excitations can be based on the concept of pair natural orbitals (PNOs) [F. Neese, A. Hansen, and D. G. Liakos, J. Chem. Phys.131, 064103 (2009)

]. The resulting local pair natural orbital-coupled-cluster single double (LPNO-CCSD) method has since been proven to be highly reliable and efficient. For large molecules, the number of amplitudes to be determined is reduced by a factor of 105–106 relative to a canonical CCSD calculation on the same system with the same basis set. In the original method, the PNOs were expanded in the set of canonical virtual orbitals and single excitations were not truncated. This led to a number of fifth order scaling steps that eventually rendered the method computationally expensive for large molecules (e.g., >100 atoms). In the present work, these limitations are overcome by a complete redesign of the LPNO-CCSD method. The new method is based on the combination of the concepts of PNOs and projected atomic orbitals (PAOs). Thus, each PNO is expanded in a set of PAOs that in turn belong to a given electron pair specific domain. In this way, it is possible to fully exploit locality while maintaining the extremely high compactness of the original LPNO-CCSD wavefunction. No terms are dropped from the CCSD equations and domains are chosen conservatively. The correlation energy loss due to the domains remains below <0.05%, which implies typically 15–20 but occasionally up to 30 atoms per domain on average. The new method has been given the acronym DLPNO-CCSD (“domain based LPNO-CCSD”). The method is nearly linear scaling with respect to system size. The original LPNO-CCSD method had three adjustable truncation thresholds that were chosen conservatively and do not need to be changed for actual applications. In the present treatment, no additional truncation parameters have been introduced. Any additional truncation is performed on the basis of the three original thresholds. There are no real-space cutoffs. Single excitations are truncated using singles-specific natural orbitals. Pairs are prescreened according to a multipole expansion of a pair correlation energy estimate based on local orbital specific virtual orbitals (LOSVs). Like its LPNO-CCSD predecessor, the method is completely of black box character and does not require any user adjustments. It is shown here that DLPNO-CCSD is as accurate as LPNO-CCSD while leading to computational savings exceeding one order of magnitude for larger systems. The largest calculations reported here featured >8800 basis functions and >450 atoms. In all larger test calculations done so far, the LPNO-CCSD step took less time than the preceding Hartree-Fock calculation, provided no approximations have been introduced in the latter. Thus, based on the present development reliable CCSD calculations on large molecules with unprecedented efficiency and accuracy are realized.

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