Ensemble v-representable ab initio density-functional calculation of energy and spin in atoms: A test of exchange-correlation approximations

Eli Kraisler*, Guy Makov, Itzhak Kelson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The total energies and the spin states for atoms and their first ions with Z=1-86 are calculated within the the local spin-density approximation (LSDA) and the generalized-gradient approximation (GGA) to the exchange-correlation (xc) energy in density-functional theory. Atoms and ions for which the ground-state density is not pure-state v-representable are treated as ensemble v-representable with fractional occupations of the Kohn-Sham system. A recently developed algorithm which searches over ensemble v-representable densities is employed in calculations. It is found that for many atoms, the ionization energies obtained with the GGA are only modestly improved with respect to experimental data, as compared to the LSDA. However, even in those groups of atoms where the improvement is systematic, there remains a non-negligible difference with respect to the experiment. The ab initio electronic configuration in the Kohn-Sham reference system does not always equal the configuration obtained from the spectroscopic term within the independent-electron approximation. It was shown that use of the latter configuration can prevent the energy-minimization process from converging to the global minimum, e.g., in lanthanides. The spin values calculated ab initio fit the experiment for most atoms and are almost unaffected by the choice of the xc functional. Among the systems with incorrectly obtained spin, there exist some cases (e.g., V, Pt) for which the result is found to be stable with respect to small variations in the xc approximation. These findings suggest a necessity for a significant modification of the exchange-correlation functional, probably of a nonlocal nature, to accurately describe such systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number042516
JournalPhysical Review A - Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 29 Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


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