The performance of a number of different implementations of density functional theory (DFT) for predicting the s/d interconfigurational energies of the 3d transition metal cations is investigated. Systematic comparisons of computed results with experimental data indicate that gradient corrected correlation functionals, like the LYP GGA, efficiently correct the flaws of the LDA, but reveal shortcomings in the treatment of exchange by currently available GGAs. The admixture of exact exchange in hybrid functionals eventually leads to largely reduced errors. Several basis sets available for the 3d elements are tested in combination with the B3LYP functional. Finally, the influence of variations of the admixture of exact exchange is systematically tested. The results reveal that computed s/d excitation energies obtained for the individual ions depend in markedly different ways on the amount of exact exchange admixture and that there is no single optimal and transferable exchange parameter to create a hybrid functional that yields improved results for all ions alike. Several of the recently devised functionals perform as good as or slightly better than the B3LYP functional in the present study. But given the fact that the B3LYP functional has been identified as the most successful DFT method in an overwhelming number of systematic investigations in very many areas of chemical research, there is no persuasive motivation to recommend its replacement by one of the other functionals, as much less is known about their robustness. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Comput Chem 26: 1505–1518, 2005
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