Angular momentum dependent orbital-free density functional theory: Formulation and implementation

Youqi Ke, Florian Libisch, Junchao Xia, Emily A. Carter

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20 Scopus citations


Orbital-free density functional theory (OFDFT) directly solves for the ground-state electron density. It scales linearly with respect to system size, providing a promising tool for large-scale material simulations. Removal of the orbitals requires use of approximate noninteracting kinetic energy density functionals. If replacing ionic cores with pseudopotentials, removal of the orbitals also requires these pseudopotentials to be local. These are two severe challenges to the capabilities of conventional OFDFT. While main group elements are often well described within conventional OFDFT, transition metals remain intractable due to their localized d electrons. To advance the accuracy and general applicability of OFDFT, we have recently reported a general angular momentum dependent formulation as a next-generation OFDFT. In this formalism, we incorporate the angular momenta of electrons by devising a hybrid scheme based on a muffin tin geometry: inside spheres centered at the ionic cores, the electron density is expanded in a set of atom-centered basis functions combined with an onsite density matrix. The explicit treatment of the angular momenta of electrons provides an important basis for accurately describing the important ionic core region, which is not possible in conventional OFDFT. In addition to the conventional OFDFT total energy functional, we introduce a nonlocal energy term containing a set of angular momentum dependent energies to correct the errors due to the approximate kinetic energy density functional and local pseudopotentials. Our approach greatly increases the accuracy of OFDFT while largely preserving its numerical simplicity. Here, we provide details of the theoretical formulation and practical implementation, including the hybrid scheme, the derivation of the nonlocal energy term, the choice of basis functions, the direct minimization of the total energy, the procedure to determine the angular momentum dependent energies, the force formula with Pulay correction, and the solution to emerging numerical instability. To test the angular momentum dependent OFDFT formalism and its numerical implementations, we calculate a diverse set of properties of the transition metal Ti and compare with different levels of DFT approximation. The results suggest that angular momentum dependent OFDFT ultimately will extend the reliable reach of OFDFT to the rest of the periodic table.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number155112
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 10 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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