Copper corroles: the question of noninnocence.
ABSTRACT In this paper, the results are presented from a comparative study of the electronic and geometric structure of copper corroles by means of either density functional theory (DFT, using both pure and hybrid functionals) and multiconfigurational ab initio methods, starting from either a complete active space (CASSCF) or restricted active space (RASSCF) reference wave function and including dynamic correlation by means of second-order perturbation theory (CASPT2/RASPT2). DFT geometry optimizations were performed for the lowest singlet and triplet states of copper corrole, both unsubstituted and meso-substituted with three phenyl groups. The effect of saddling on the electronic structure was investigated by comparing the results obtained for planar (C(2v)) and saddled (C(2)) structures. With DFT, the origin of the saddling distortion is found to be dependent on the applied functional: covalent Cu 3d-corrole π interactions with pure functionals (BP86, OLYP), antiferromagnetic exchange coupling between an electron in the corrolate (C(2)) b type π orbital, and an unpaired Cu(II) 3d electron with hybrid functionals (B3LYP, PBE0). The CASPT2 results essentially confirm the suggestion from the hybrid functionals that copper corroles are noninnocent, although the contribution of diradical character to the copper-corrole bond is found to be limited to 50% or less. The lowest triplet state is calculated at 0-10 kcal/mol and conform with the experimental observation (variable temperature NMR) that this state should be thermally accessible.