Unusual bonding and electronic near degeneracies make the lowest-lying singlet states of the C2 molecule particularly challenging for electronic structure theory. Here we compare two alternative approaches to modeling bond-breaking reactions and excited states: sophisticated multireference configuration interaction and multireference perturbation theory methods, and a more "black box," single-reference approach, the completely renormalized coupled-cluster method. These approximate methods are assessed in light of their ability to reproduce the full configuration interaction potential energy curves for the X1Sigmag+, B1Deltag, and B' 1Sigmag+ states of C2, which are numerically exact solutions of the electronic Schrodinger equation within the space spanned by a 6-31G* basis set. Both the multireference methods and the completely renormalized coupled-cluster approach provide dramatic improvements over the standard single-reference methods. The multireference methods are nearly as reliable for this challenging test case as for simpler reactions which break only single bonds. The completely renormalized coupled-cluster approach has difficulty for large internuclear separations R in this case, but over the wide range of R=1.0-2.0 A, it compares favorably with the more complicated multireference methods.

%B Journal of Chemical Physics %V 122 %8 3/22/2005 %G eng %N 12