Projector-free capped-fragment scheme within density functional embedding theory for covalent and ionic compounds

John Mark P. Martirez, Emily A. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Quantum-mechanics-(QM)-based simulations now routinely aid in understanding and even discovering new chemistries involving molecules and materials exhibiting desired functionalities. Ab initio correlated wavefunction (CW) theories systematically improve QM methods, with many exhibiting high accuracy. However, execution of CW methods requires expensive computations that typically scale poorly with system size. Divide-and-conquer approaches partition large systems into smaller fragments; a lower level of theory treats fragment interactions while a preferred higher level of theory describes the important fragment. These methods offer ways to incorporate CWs into chemical simulations of large systems, e.g., biomolecules, surfaces, large inorganic clusters, bulk crystals, etc. Here we propose a partitioning protocol that utilizes capping atoms to saturate severed covalent bonds at fragment interfaces and density functional embedding theory (DFET) to describe fragment interactions. The capping groups in each fragment provide an ad-hoc potential that approximates the effects of the environment. An embedding potential optimized via DFET then serves as an augmentation of the capping group to simulate the effects of the environment. We concurrently use an auxiliary fragment (a separate system comprised of only the combined capping groups) to account for, and thereby correct, the electron density contributions of all the capping groups added to all of the fragments. This method depends only on the capped-subsystem and auxiliary-fragment electron densities, forgoing, as with the original DFET developed for metallic systems, orbital-based projector approaches that determine a nonlocal action of the embedding potential onto the fragment electrons. By using an auxiliary fragment, the method maintains a purely electron-density-dependent embedding potential, substantially lessening the cost and leading to simpler implementation. Here, we demonstrate the utility of our capped-DFET and ensuing capped embedded CW method in two contrasting systems, namely, an organic molecule and an ionic metal oxide cluster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4105-4121
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 13 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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