Extending density functional embedding theory for covalently bonded systems

Kuang Yu, Emily A. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Quantum embedding theory aims to provide an efficient solution to obtain accurate electronic energies for systems too large for full-scale, high-level quantum calculations. It adopts a hierarchical approach that divides the total system into a small embedded region and a larger environment, using different levels of theory to describe each part. Previously, we developed a density-based quantum embedding theory called density functional embedding theory (DFET), which achieved considerable success in metals and semiconductors. In this work, we extend DFET into a densitymatrix- based nonlocal form, enabling DFET to study the stronger quantum couplings between covalently bonded subsystems. We name this theory density-matrix functional embedding theory (DMFET), and we demonstrate its performance in several test examples that resemble various real applications in both chemistry and biochemistry. DMFET gives excellent results in all cases tested thus far, including predicting isomerization energies, proton transfer energies, and highest occupied molecular orbital-lowest unoccupied molecular orbital gaps for local chromophores. Here, we show that DMFET systematically improves the quality of the results compared with the widely used state-of-the-art methods, such as the simple capped cluster model or the widely used ONIOM method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E10861-E10870
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 19 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Covalent bonds
  • Density matrix
  • Quantum embedding theory


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