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Gaussian & GaussView. Shubin Liu, Ph.D. Research Computing Center, ITS University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Agenda. Introduction Capabilities Input File Preparation Gaussian GUI – GaussView Run G03/G09 Jobs @ UNC-CH Some Advanced Topics Hands-on Experiments – next hour.

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Gaussian & GaussView

Shubin Liu, Ph.D.

Research Computing Center, ITS

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


  • Introduction

  • Capabilities

  • Input File Preparation

  • Gaussian GUI – GaussView

  • Run G03/G09 Jobs @ UNC-CH

  • Some Advanced Topics

  • Hands-on Experiments – next hour

The PPT format of this presentation is available here:


Course Goal

  • What Gaussian/GaussView packages are

  • How to prepare input files via GaussView

  • How to run G03/G09 jobs on UNC-CH servers

  • How to view G03/G09 results

  • Learn selected advanced topics

  • Hands-on experiments


  • Basic UNIX knowledge

  • Introduction to Scientific Computing

  • An account on Emerald

About Us

ITS – Information Technology Services

Physical locations:

401 West Franklin St.

211 Manning Drive

10 Divisions/Departments

Information SecurityIT Infrastructure and Operations

Research Computing CenterTeaching and Learning

User Support and EngagementOffice of the CIO

Communication TechnologiesCommunications

Enterprise ApplicationsFinance and Administration

Research Computing Center

Where and who are we and what do we do?

ITS Manning: 211 Manning Drive



Infrastructure -- Hardware

User Support -- Software

Engagement -- Collaboration

About Myself

Ph.D. from Chemistry, UNC-CH

Currently Senior Computational Scientist @ Research Computing Center, UNC-CH


Support Computational Chemistry/Physics/Material Science software

Support Programming (FORTRAN/C/C++) tools, code porting, parallel computing, etc.

Training, Workshops/Short Courses – currently 4, one more to come soon

Conduct research and engagement projects in Computational Chemistry

Development of DFT theory and concept tools

Applications in biological and material science systems

About You

  • Name, department, group, interest?

  • Any experience before with Gaussian or GaussView?

  • What do you expect to use them? What kind of systems?

Gaussian & GaussView

  • Gaussian is a general purpose electronic structure package for use in computational chemistry. Current default version 03 E01

  • Most widely used computational chemistry package. The latest release is Gaussian 09A02.

  • GaussView is a graphical user interface (GUI) designed to be used with Gaussian to make calculation preparation and output analysis easier, quicker and more efficient. Current default version 4.1.2. The latest release is 5.0.9.

  • Vendor’s website:

Gaussian 03/09 Functionality

  • Energies

    • MM: AMBER, Dreiding, UFF force field

    • Semiempirical: CNDO, INDO, MINDO/3, MNDO, AM1, PM3

    • HF: closed-shell, restricted/unrestricted open-shell

    • DFT: many local/nonlocal functionals to choose

    • MP: 2nd-5th order; direct and semi-direct methods

    • CI: single and double

    • CC: single, double, triples contribution

    • High accuracy methods: G1, G2, CBS, etc.

    • MCSCF: including CASSCF

    • GVB

Gaussian 03/09 Functionality

  • Gradients/Geometry optimizations

  • Frequencies (IR/Raman, NMR, etc.)

  • Other properties

    • Populations analyses

    • Electrostatic potentials

    • NMR tensors

  • Several solvation models (PCM, COSMOS)

  • Two and three layer ONIOM – E, grad, freq

  • Transition state search

  • IRC for reaction path

New in Gaussian 03/09

  • Molecular Dynamics

    • BOMD – Born-Oppenheimer MD

    • ADMP – Atom-Centered Density Matrix Propagation

  • Periodic Boundary Conditions (PBC) – HF and DFT energies and gradients

  • Properties with ONIOM models

  • Spin-spin coupling and other additions to spectroscopic properties

  • Also – improved algorithms for initial guesses in DFT and faster SCF convergence

  • Many new DFT functionals!

  • DFTB (tight-binding DFT)

Gaussian Input File Structure

  • .com,.inp, or .gjf (Windows version)

  • Free format, case insensitive

  • Spaces, commas, tabs, forward slash as delimiters between keywords

  • ! as comment line/section

  • Divided into sections (in order)

    • Link 0 commands (%)

    • Route section – what calculation is to do

    • Title

    • Molecular specification

    • Optional additional sections

Input File – Example 1

# HF/6-31G(d)!Route section

!Blank line

water energy !Title section

!Blank line

0 1 !Charge & multiplicity

O -0.464 0.177 0.0 !Geometry in Cartesian Coordinate

H -0.464 1.137 0.0

H 0.441 -0.143 0.0

!Blank line at the end

Input File – Example 2

%nproc=2 !Link 0 section


#b3lyp/6-311+G(3df,2p) opt freq !Route/Keywords !Blank line

Calcn Title: test !Title

!Ban line

0 1 !Charge & multiplicity

O!Geometry in Z-matrix

h 1 r

h 1 r 2 a




!Blank line at the end

Input File – Link 0 Commands

  • First “Link 0” options (Examples)

    • %chk

      • %chk=myjob.chk

  • %mem

    • %mem=12MW

  • %nproc

    • $nproc=4

  • %rwf

    • %rwf=1,1999mb,b,1999mb

  • %scr

    • %sc=e,1999mb,f,1999mb

  • Input File – Keyword Specification

    • Keyword line(s) – specify calculation type and other job options

    • Start with # symbol

    • Can be multiple lines

    • Terminate with a blank line

    • Format

      • keyword=option

      • keyword(option)

      • keyword(option1,option2,…)

      • keyword=(option1,option2,…)

    • User’s guide provides list of keywords, options, and basis set notion

    Basis Set

    • Why are basis sets required: MO-LCAO!

    • Basis sets are atomic orbitals (AOs).

      • Minimal basis set (e.g., STO-3G)

      • Double zeta basis set (DZ)

      • Split valence basis Set (e.g., 6-31G)

      • Polarization and diffuse functions (6-31+G*)

      • Correlation-consistent basis functions (e.g., aug-cc-pvTZ)

      • Pseudopotentials, effective core potentials

    Input File – Title Specification

    • Brief description of calculation – for users benefit

    • Terminate with a blank line

    Input File – Molecular Geometry

    • 1st line charge and multiplicity

    • Element label and location

      • Cartesian coordinate

        • Label x y z

    • Z-matrix

      • Label atoms bond length atom2 angle atm3 dihedral

  • If parameters used instead of numerical values then variables section follows

  • Again end in blank line

  • A More Complicated Example




    #B3LYP/6-31G* opt geom=Checkpoint Guess=read nosymm scf=tight

    Geometry optimization of a sample molecule

    1 1





    # B3LYP/6-311++G** sp pop=nbo nosymm guess=read geom=checkpoint

    Single Point Energy for the "reference state" of molecule with one more electron.

    0 2

    Other Gaussian Utilities

    • formchk – formats checkpoint file so it can be used by other programs

    • cubgen – generate cube file to look at MOs, densities, gradients, NMR in GaussView

    • freqchk – retrieves frequency/thermochemsitry data from chk file

    • newzmat – converting molecular specs between formats (zmat, cart, chk, cache, frac coord, MOPAC, pdb, and others)


    GaussView 4.1.2 makes using Gaussian 03 simple and straightforward:

    • Sketch in molecules using its advanced 3D Structure Builder, or load in molecules from standard files.

    • Set up and submit Gaussian 03 jobs right from the interface, and monitor their progress as they run.

    • Examine calculation results graphically via state-of-the-art visualization features: display molecular orbitals and other surfaces, view spectra, animate normal modes, geometry optimizations and reaction paths.

    • Online help:

    GaussView Availability

    • Support platforms:

      – IBM RS6000 (AIX 5.1) (Happy/yatta/p575)

      – LINUX 32-bit OS (Emeraldtest)

      – LINUX 64-bit OS (Emerald, Topsail, Kure)

    GaussView: Build

    • Build structures by atom, functional group, ring, amino acid (central fragment, amino-terminated and carboxyl-terminated forms) or nucleoside (central fragment, C3’-terminated, C5’-terminated and free nucleoside forms).

      • Show or hide as many builder panels as desired.

      • Define custom fragment libraries.

    • Open PDB files and other standard molecule file formats.

    • Optionally add hydrogen atoms to structures automatically, with excellent accuracy.

    • Graphically examine & modify all structural parameters.

    • Rotate even large molecules in 3 dimension: translation, 3D rotation and zooming are all accomplished via simple mouse operations.

      • Move multiple molecules in the same window individually or as a group.

      • Adjust the orientation of any molecule display.

    • View molecules in several display modes: wire frame, tubes, ball and stick or space fill style.

      • Display multiple views of the same structure.

      • Customize element colors and window backgrounds.

    • Use the advanced Clean function to rationalize sketched-in structures

    • Constrain molecular structure to a specific symmetry (point group).

    • Recompute bonding on demand.

    • Build unit cells for 1, 2 and 3 dimensional periodic boundary conditions calculations (including constraining to a specific space group symmetry).

    • Specify ONIOM layer assignments in several simple, intuitive ways: by clicking on the desired atoms, by bond attachment proximity to a specified atom, by absolute distance from a specified atom, and by PDB file residue.

    GaussView: Build

    GaussView: Build

    GuassView: Setup

    • Molecule specification input is set up automatically.

    • Specify additional redundant internal coordinates by clicking on the appropriate atoms and optionally setting the value.

    • Specify the input for any Gaussian 03 calculation type.

      • Select the job from a pop-up menu. Related options automatically appear in the dialog.

      • Select any method and basis set from pop-up menus.

      • Set up calculations for systems in solution. Select the desired solvent from a pop-up menu.

      • Set up calculations for solids using the periodic boundary conditions method. GaussView specifies the translation vectors automatically.

      • Set up molecule specifications for QST2 and QST3 transition state searches using the Builder’s molecule group feature to transform one structure into the reactants, products and/or transition state guess.

      • Select orbitals for CASSCF calculations using a graphical MO editor, rearranging the order and occupations with the mouse.

    • Start and monitor local Gaussian jobs.

    • Start remote jobs via a custom script.

    GaussView: Setup

    GuassView: Showing Results

    • Show calculation results summary.

    • Examine atomic changes: display numerical values or color atoms by charge (optionally selecting custom colors).

    • Create surfaces for molecular orbitals, electron density, electrostatic potential, spin density, or NMR shielding density from Gaussian job results.

      • Display as solid, translucent or wire mesh.

      • Color surfaces by a separate property.

      • Load and display any cube created by Gaussian 03.

    • Animate normal modes associated with vibrational frequencies (or indicate the motion with vectors).

    • Display spectra: IR, Raman, NMR, VCD.

      • Display absolute NMR results or results with respect to an available reference compound.

    • Animate geometry optimizations, IRC reaction path following, potential energy surface scans, and BOMD and ADMP trajectories.

    • Produce web graphics and publication quality graphics files and printouts.

      • Save/print images at arbitrary size and resolution.

      • Create TIFF, JPEG, PNG, BMP and vector graphics EPS files.

      • Customize element, surface, charge and background colors, or select high quality gray scale output.

    GuassView: Showing Results


    Reflection-Absorption Infrared Spectrum of AlQ3

    Wavenumbers (cm-1)













    GaussView: VCD (Vibrational Circular Dichroism) Spectra

    GaussView can display a variety of computed spectra, including IR, Raman, NMR and VCD. Here we see the VCD spectra for two conformations of spiropentyl acetate, a chiral derivative of spiropentane. See F. J. Devlin, P. J. Stephens, C. Österle, K. B. Wiberg, J. R. Cheeseman, and M. J. Frisch, J. Org. Chem. 67, 8090 (2002).

    GaussView: ONIOM

    Bacteriorhodopsin, set up for an ONIOM calculation (stylized). See T. Vreven and K. Morokuma, “Investigation of the S0->S1 excitation in bacteriorhodopsin with the ONIOM(MO:MM) hybrid method,” Theor. Chem. Acc. (2003).

    Gaussian/GaussView @ UNC

    • Installed in AFS ISIS package space /afs/isis/pkg/gaussian

      • Package name: gaussian

      • Versions: 09A02, 03E01 (default version)

      • Type “ipm add gaussian” to subscribe the service

    • Availability

      • Linux Cluster,

      • LINUX cluster,

      • LINUX Cluster,

    • Package information available at:

    Access GaussView

    • From UNIX workstation

      • Login to emerald, kure, topsail

        ssh -X

      • Invoke gaussview or gview via LSF interactive queue

    • From PC desktop via X-Win32 or SecureCRT

      • Detailed document available at:

    Submit G03 Jobs to Servers

    • To submit single-CPU G03 jobs to computing servers via LSF:

      bsub -q qname -m mname g03 input.inp

      where “qname” stands for a queue name, e.g., week, month, etc., “mname” represents a machine name, e.g., cypress,yatta, etc., and “input.inp” denotes the input file prepared manually or via GaussView.

      For example:

      bsub -q idle -R blade g03 input.inp

    Submit G03 Jobs to Servers

    • To submit multiple-CPU G03 jobs via LSF:

      -- G03 is parallelized via OpenMP

      bsub -q qname -n ncpu -m mname g03 input.inp

      where “qname” stands for a queue name, e.g., week, idle, etc., “ncpu” is the number of CPUs requested, e.g., 2 or 4 or 8, “mname” represents a machine name, e.g., yatta, cypress, etc., and “input.inp” denotes the input file prepared manually or via GaussView.

      For example

      bsub -q week -n 4 -m cypress g03 input.inp

      To submit multiple CPU g03 jobs on Emerald, make sure only all CPUs are from the same node because G03 is parallelized via OpenMP (for share-memory SMP machines)

      bsub -q week -n 4 -R “blade span[ptile=4]” g03 input.inp

    Default Settings

    • Temporary files

      • Emerald:/largefs/gausswork

    • Memory

      • Emerald: 512MB


      • Emerald: 2GB

    Advanced Topics

    • Potential energy surfaces

    • Transition state optimization

    • Thermochemistry

    • NMR, VCD, IR/Raman spectra

    • NBO analysis

    • Excited states (UV/visible spectra)

    • Solvent effect

    • PBC

    • ONIOM model

    • ABMD, BOMD, etc.

    Potential Energy Surfaces

    • Many aspects of chemistry can be reduced to questions about potential energy surfaces (PES)

    • A PES displays the energy of a molecule as a function of its geometry

    • Energy is plotted on the vertical axis, geometric coordinates (e.g bond lengths, valence angles, etc.) are plotted on the horizontal axes

    • A PES can be thought of it as a hilly landscape, with valleys, mountain passes and peaks

    • Real PES have many dimensions, but key feature can be represented by a 3 dimensional PES

    Model Potential Energy Surface

    Calculating PES in Gaussian/GaussView

    • Use the keyword “scan”

    • Then change

      input file properly

    Transition State Search

    Calculating Transition States

    Locating Transition States

    TS Search in Gaussian

    TS Search inGaussian/GaussView

    TS Search inGaussian/GaussView

    Animation of Imaginary Frequency

    • Check that the imaginary

      frequency corresponds to

      the TS you search for.

    Intrinsic Reaction Coordinate Scans

    Input for IRC Calculation

    StepSize=N Step size along the reaction path, in units of 0.01 amu-1/2-Bohr. The default is 10.

    RCFC Specifies that the computed force constants in Cartesian coordinates from a frequency calculation are to be read from the checkpoint file. ReadCartesianFC is a synonym for RCFC.

    IRC Calculation in GaussView

    Reaction Pathway Graph

    Thermochemistryfrom ab initio Calculations

    Thermochemistryfrom ab initio Calculations

    Thermochemistry from frequency calculation

    Modeling System in Solution

    Calculating Solvent Effect

    Calculating Solvent Effect

    Solvent Effect: Menshutkin Model Reaction Transition State

    Solvent Effect: Menshutkin Model Reaction Transition State

    NMR Shielding Tensors

    NMR Example Input


    #p hf/6-311+g(2d,p) nmr

    nmr ethyne

    0 1












    Comparison of Calculated and Experimental Chemical Shifts

    QM/MM: ONIOM Model

    QM/MM: ONIOM Model

    From GaussView menu: Edit -> Select Layer

    Low Layer

    Medium Layer

    High Layer

    QM/MM: ONIOM Setup

    From GaussView menu: Calculate->Gaussian->Method

    QM/MM: ONIOM Setup

    • For the medium and low layers:

    QM/MM: ONIOM Setup

    What Is NBO?

    • Natural Bond Orbitals (NBOs) are localized few-center orbitals ("few" meaning typically 1 or 2, but occasionally more) that describe the Lewis-like molecular bonding pattern of electron pairs (or of individual electrons in the open-shell case) in optimally compact form. More precisely, NBOs are an orthonormal set of localized "maximum occupancy" orbitals whose leading N/2 members (or N members in the open-shell case) give the most accurate possible Lewis-like description of the total N-electron density.

    C-C Bond

    C-H Bond

    NBO Analysis

    NBO in GaussView

    Natural Population Analysis

    #rhf/3-21g pop=nbo RHF/3-21G for formamide (H2NCHO) 0 1   H  -1.908544      0.420906     0.000111   H  -1.188060     -1.161135     0.000063   N  -1.084526     -0.157315     0.000032   C   0.163001      0.386691    -0.000154   O   1.196265     -0.246372     0.000051   H   0.140159      1.492269     0.000126

    NPA Output Sample

    Further Readings

    • Computational Chemistry (Oxford Chemistry Primer) G. H. Grant and W. G. Richards (Oxford University Press)

    • Molecular Modeling – Principles and Applications, A. R. Leach (Addison Wesley Longman)

    • Introduction to Computational Chemistry, F. Jensen (Wiley)

    • Essentials of Computational Chemistry – Theories and Models, C. J. Cramer (Wiley)

    • Exploring Chemistry with Electronic Structure Methods, J. B. Foresman and A. Frisch (Gaussian Inc.)

    Comments & Questions???

    Please direct comments/questions about Gaussian/GaussView to

    E-mail: [email protected]

    Please direct comments/questions pertaining to this presentation to

    E-Mail: [email protected]

    Hands-on: Part I

    • Access GaussView to Emerald cluster from PC desktop

    • If not done so before, type “ipm add gaussian”

    • Check if Gaussian is subscribed by typing “ipm q”

    • Get to know GaussView GUI

    • Build a simple molecular model

    • Generate an input file for G03 called, for example,

    • View and modify the G03 input file

    • Submit G03 job to emerald compute nodes using the week or now queue:

      bsub –R blade –q now g03

    The WORD .doc format of this hands-on exercises is available here:


    Hands-on: Part II

    • Calculate/View Molecular Orbitals with GaussView


    • Calculate/View Electrostatic Potential with GaussView


    • Calculate/View Vibrational Frequencies in GaussView


    • Calculate/View NMR Tensors with GaussView


    • Calculate/View a Reaction Path with GaussView


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