TY - JOUR

T1 - Charge-Transfer Steps in Density Functional Theory from the Perspective of the Exact Electron Factorization

AU - Kocák, Jakub

AU - Kraisler, Eli

AU - Schild, Axel

N1 - Publisher Copyright:
©

PY - 2021/4/1

Y1 - 2021/4/1

N2 - When a molecule dissociates, the exact Kohn-Sham (KS) and Pauli potentials may form step structures. Reproducing these steps correctly is central for the description of dissociation and charge-transfer processes in density functional theory (DFT): The steps align the KS eigenvalues of the dissociating subsystems relative to each other and determine where electrons localize. While the step height can be calculated from the asymptotic behavior of the KS orbitals, this provides limited insight into what causes the steps. We give an explanation of the steps with an exact mapping of the many-electron problem to a one-electron problem, the exact electron factorization (EEF). The potentials appearing in the EEF have a clear physical meaning that translates to the DFT potentials by replacing the interacting many-electron system with the KS system. With a simple model of a diatomic, we illustrate that the steps are a consequence of spatial electron entanglement and are the result of a charge transfer. From this mechanism, the step height can immediately be deduced. Moreover, two methods to approximately reproduce the potentials during dissociation are proposed. One is based on the states of the dissociated system, while the other one is based on an analogy to the Born-Oppenheimer treatment of a molecule. The latter method also shows that the steps connect adiabatic potential energy surfaces. The view of DFT from the EEF thus provides a better understanding of how many-electron effects are encoded in a one-electron theory and how they can be modeled.

AB - When a molecule dissociates, the exact Kohn-Sham (KS) and Pauli potentials may form step structures. Reproducing these steps correctly is central for the description of dissociation and charge-transfer processes in density functional theory (DFT): The steps align the KS eigenvalues of the dissociating subsystems relative to each other and determine where electrons localize. While the step height can be calculated from the asymptotic behavior of the KS orbitals, this provides limited insight into what causes the steps. We give an explanation of the steps with an exact mapping of the many-electron problem to a one-electron problem, the exact electron factorization (EEF). The potentials appearing in the EEF have a clear physical meaning that translates to the DFT potentials by replacing the interacting many-electron system with the KS system. With a simple model of a diatomic, we illustrate that the steps are a consequence of spatial electron entanglement and are the result of a charge transfer. From this mechanism, the step height can immediately be deduced. Moreover, two methods to approximately reproduce the potentials during dissociation are proposed. One is based on the states of the dissociated system, while the other one is based on an analogy to the Born-Oppenheimer treatment of a molecule. The latter method also shows that the steps connect adiabatic potential energy surfaces. The view of DFT from the EEF thus provides a better understanding of how many-electron effects are encoded in a one-electron theory and how they can be modeled.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85103683150&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1021/acs.jpclett.1c00467

DO - 10.1021/acs.jpclett.1c00467

M3 - Article

C2 - 33761257

AN - SCOPUS:85103683150

SN - 1948-7185

VL - 12

SP - 3204

EP - 3209

JO - Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters

JF - Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters

IS - 12

ER -