Time-dependent potential-functional embedding theory

Chen Huang, Florian Libisch, Qing Peng, Emily A. Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We introduce a time-dependent potential-functional embedding theory (TD-PFET), in which atoms are grouped into subsystems. In TD-PFET, subsystems can be propagated by different suitable time-dependent quantum mechanical methods and their interactions can be treated in a seamless, first-principles manner. TD-PFET is formulated based on the time-dependent quantum mechanics variational principle. The action of the total quantum system is written as a functional of the time-dependent embedding potential, i.e., a potential-functional formulation. By exploiting the Runge-Gross theorem, we prove the uniqueness of the time-dependent embedding potential under the constraint that all subsystems share a common embedding potential. We derive the integral equation that such an embedding potential needs to satisfy. As proof-of-principle, we demonstrate TD-PFET for a Na4 cluster, in which each Na atom is treated as one subsystem and propagated by time-dependent Kohn-Sham density functional theory (TDDFT) using the adiabatic local density approximation (ALDA). Our results agree well with a direct TDDFT calculation on the whole Na4 cluster using ALDA. We envision that TD-PFET will ultimately be useful for studying ultrafast quantum dynamics in condensed matter, where key regions are solved by highly accurate time-dependent quantum mechanics methods, and unimportant regions are solved by faster, less accurate methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number124113
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 28 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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