Computed NMR spectra have become a very useful tool in identifying chemical structures. I have blogged on this multiple times. A recent trend has been the development of computational procedures that lead to computed spectra (again, see that above link). Now, Grimme, Neese and coworkers have offered their approach to computed NMR spectra, including spin-spin splitting.1

Their procedure involves four distinct steps.

  1. Generation of the conformer and rotamer space. This is a critical distinctive element of their method in that they take a number of different tacks for sampling conformational space to insure that they have identified all low-energy structures. This involves a combination of normal mode following, genetic structure crossing (based on genetic algorithms for optimization), and molecular dynamics. Making this all work is their choice of using the computational efficient GFN-xTB2 quantum mechanical method.
  2. The low-energy structures are then subjected to re-optimization at PBEh-3c and then single-point energies obtained at DSD-BLYP-D3/def2-TZVPP including treatment of solvation by COSMO-RS. The low-energy structures that contribute 4% or more of the Boltzmann-weighted population are then carried forward.
  3. Chemical shifts and spin-spin coupling constants are then computed with the PBE0 method and the pcS and pcJ basis sets developed by Jensen for computing NMR shifts.3
  4. Lastly, the chemical shifts and coupling constants are averaged and the spin Hamiltonian is solved.

The paper provides a number of examples of the application of the methodology, all with quite good success. The computer codes to run this method are available for academic use from


1) Grimme, S.; Bannwarth, C.; Dohm, S.; Hansen, A.; Pisarek, J.; Pracht, P.; Seibert, J.; Neese, F., "Fully Automated Quantum-Chemistry-Based Computation of Spin–Spin-Coupled Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectra." Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 14763-14769, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201708266.

2) Grimme, S.; Bannwarth, C.; Shushkov, P., "A Robust and Accurate Tight-Binding Quantum Chemical Method for Structures, Vibrational Frequencies, and Noncovalent Interactions of Large Molecular Systems Parametrized for All spd-Block Elements (Z = 1–86)." J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2017, 13, 1989-2009, DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.7b00118.

3) Jensen, F., "Basis Set Convergence of Nuclear Magnetic Shielding Constants Calculated by Density Functional Methods." J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2008, 4, 719-727, DOI: 10.1021/ct800013z.