Relative electronic and free energies of octane's unique conformations
This study reports the geometries and electronic energies of n-octane's unique conformations using perturbation methods that best mimic CCSD(T) results. In total, the fully optimised minima of n-butane (2 conformations), n-pentane (4 conformations), n-hexane (12 conformations) and n-octane (96 conformations) were investigated at several different theory levels and basis sets. We find that DF-MP2.5/aug-cc-pVTZ is in very good agreement with the more expensive CCSD(T) results. At this level, we can clearly confirm the 96 stable minima which were previously found using a reparameterised density functional theory (DFT). Excellent agreement was found between their DFT results and our DF-MP2.5 perturbation results. Subsequent Gibbs free energy calculations, using scaled MP2/aug-cc-pVTZ zero-point vibrational energy and frequencies, indicate a significant temperature dependency of the relative energies, with a change in the predicted global minimum. The results of this work will be important for future computational investigations of fuel-related octane reactions and for optimisation of molecular force fields (e.g. lipids).