, Volume 112, Issue 1, pp 52-57
Date: 17 Mar 2004

The accuracy of hyperfine integrals in relativistic NMR computations based on the zeroth-order regular approximation

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Abstract.

The accuracy of the hyperfine integrals obtained in relativistic NMR computations based on the zeroth–order regular approximation (ZORA) is investigated. The matrix elements of the Fermi contact operator and its relativistic analogs for s orbitals obtained from numerical nonrelativistic, ZORA, and four–component Hartree–Fock–Slater calculations on atoms are compared. It is found that the ZORA yields very accurate hyperfine integrals for the valence shells of heavy atoms, but performs rather poorly for the innermost core shells. Because the important observables of the NMR experiment—chemical shifts and spin–spin coupling constants—can be understood as “valence properties” it is concluded that ZORA computations represent a reliable tool for the investigations of these properties. On the other hand, absolute shieldings calculated with the ZORA might be substantially in error. Because applications to molecules have so far exclusively been based on basis set expansions of the molecular orbitals, ZORA hyperfine integrals obtained from atomic Slater-type basis set computations for mercury are compared with the accurate numerical values. It is demonstrated that the core part of the basis set requires functions with Slater exponents only up to 104 in the case where errors in the hyperfine integrals of a few percent are acceptable.