Improving the orbital-free density functional theory description of covalent materials

Baojing Zhou, Vincent L. Ligneres, Emily A. Carter

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84 Scopus citations


The essential challenge in orbital-free density functional theory (OF-DFT) is to construct accurate kinetic energy density functionals (KEDFs) with general applicability (i.e., transferability). During the last decade, several linear-response (LR)-based KEDFs have been proposed. Among them, the Wang-Govind-Carter (WGC) KEDF, containing a density-dependent response kernel, is one of the most accurate that still affords a linear scaling algorithm. For nearly-free-electron-like metals such as Al and its alloys, OF-DFT employing the WGC KEDF produces bulk properties in good agreement with orbital-based Kohn-Sham (KS) DFT predictions. However, when OF-DFT, using the WGC KEDF combined with a recently proposed bulk-derived local pseudopotential (BLPS), was applied to semiconducting and metallic phases of Si, problems arose with convergence of the self-consistent density and energy, leading to poor results. Here we provide evidence that the convergence problem is very likely caused by the use of a truncated Taylor series expansion of the WGC response kernel. Moreover, we show that a defect in the ansatz for the first-order reduced density matrix underlying the LR KEDFs limits the accuracy of these KEDFs. By optimizing the two free parameters involved in the WGC KEDF, the two-body Fermi wave vector mixing parameter γ and the reference density ρ * used in the Taylor expansion, OF-DFT calculations with the BLPS can achieve semiquantitative results for nine phases of bulk silicon. These new parameters are recommended whenever the WGC KEDF is used to study nonmetallic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number044103
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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