Nuclear quantum effects are important in a variety of chemical and biological processes. The constrained nuclear–electronic orbital density functional theory (cNEO-DFT) has been developed to include nuclear quantum effects in energy surfaces. Herein, we develop the analytic Hessian for cNEO-DFT energy with respect to the change in nuclear (expectation) positions, which can be used to characterize stationary points on energy surfaces and compute molecular vibrational frequencies. This is achieved by constructing and solving the multicomponent cNEO coupled-perturbed Kohn–Sham (cNEO-CPKS) equations, which describe the response of electronic and nuclear orbitals to the displacement of nuclear (expectation) positions. With the analytic Hessian, the vibrational frequencies of a series of small molecules are calculated and compared to those from conventional DFT Hessian calculations as well as those from the vibrational second-order perturbation theory (VPT2). It is found that even with a harmonic treatment, cNEO-DFT significantly outperforms DFT and is comparable to DFT-VPT2 in the description of vibrational frequencies in regular polyatomic molecules. Furthermore, cNEO-DFT can reasonably describe the proton transfer modes in systems with a shared proton, whereas DFT-VPT2 often faces great challenges. Our results suggest the importance of nuclear quantum effects in molecular vibrations, and cNEO-DFT is an accurate and inexpensive method to describe molecular vibrations.

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