# Research

The meaning of orbital energies (OOEs) in Kohn–Sham (KS) density functional theory (DFT) is subject to a longstanding controversy. In local, semilocal, and hybrid density functionals (DFs) a Koopmans’ approach, where OOEs approximate negative ionization potentials (IPs), is unreliable. We discuss a methodology based on the Baer–Neuhauser–Livshits range-separated hybrid DFs for which Koopmans’ approach “springs to life.” The OOEs are remarkably close to the negative IPs with typical deviances of ±0.3 eV down to IPs of 30 eV, as demonstrated on several molecules. An essential component is the ab initio motivated range-parameter tuning procedure, forcing the highest OOE to be exactly equal to the negative first IP. We develop a theory for the curvature of the energy as a function of fractional occupation numbers to explain some of the results.

Producing and controlling nonclassical light states are now the subject of intense experimental efforts. In this paper we consider the interaction of such a light state with a small molecule. Specifically, we develop the theory and apply it numerically to calculate in detail how a short pulse of nonclassical light, such as the high intensity Fock state, induces photodissociation in H2+. We compare the kinetic energy distributions and photodissociation yields with the analogous results of quasi-classical light, namely a coherent state. We find that Fock-state light decreases the overall probability of dissociation for low vibrational states of H2+ as well as the location of peaks and line shapes in the kinetic energy distribution of the nuclei.

Density functional theory (DFT) with semilocal functionals such as the local-density and generalized gradients approximations predicts that the dissociative adsorption of oxygen on Al (111) goes through without a barrier in stark contradiction to experimental findings. This problem motivated our study of the reaction of oxygen colliding with a small aluminum cluster Al-5. We found semilocal functionals predict a minute barrier to sticking, associated with smeared long-range charge transfer from the metal to the oxygen. Hybrid B3LYP predicts a larger barrier while the range-separated the Baer-Neuhauser-Livshits (BNL, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2007, 9, 2932.) functional finds a more prominent barrier. BNL predicts short-ranged and more abrupt charge transfer from the surface to the oxygen. We conclude that spurious self-repulsion inherent in semilocal functionals causes early electron-transfer, long-range attraction toward the surface and low reaction barriers for these systems. The results indicate that the missing DFT barrier for O-2 sticking on Al (111) may be due to Spurious self-repulsion.

We developed a method for calculating the ground-state properties and fundamental band-gaps of solids, using a generalized Kohn-Sham approach combining a local density approximation (LDA) functional with a long-range explicit exchange orbital functional. We found that when the range parameter is selected according to the formula gamma = A/(epsilon(infinity) (epsilon) over tilde) where epsilon(infinity) is the optical dielectric constant of the solid and (epsilon) over tilde = 0.84 and A = 0.216 a(0)(-1), predictions of the fundamental band-gap close to the experimental values are obtained for a variety of solids of different types. For most solids the range parameter g is small (i.e. explicit exchange is needed only at long distances) so the predicted values for lattice constants and bulk moduli are similar to those based on conventional LDA calculations. Preliminary calculations on silicon give a general band structure in good agreement with experiment.

Time-dependent (TD) density functional theory (TDDFT) promises a numerically tractable account of many-body electron dynamics provided good simple approximations are developed for the exchange-correlation (XC) potential functional (XCPF). The theory is usually applied within the adiabatic XCPF approximation, appropriate for slowly varying TD driving fields. As the frequency and strength of these fields grows, it is widely held that memory effects kick in and the eligibility of the adiabatic XCPF approximation deteriorates irreversibly. We point out, however, that when a finite system of electrons in its ground-state is gradually exposed to a very a high-frequency and eventually ultra-strong homogeneous electric field, the adiabatic XCPF approximation is in fact rigorously applicable. This result shows that adiabatic XCPF has a larger scope of applicability than previously suspected and in this sense is compliant with recent numerical findings by Thiele et al. [M. Thiele, E.K.U. Gross, S. Kümmel, Phys. Rev. Lett. 100 (2008) 153004] of negligible memory effects in strong-field double ionization.

We present electronic structure calculations of the ultraviolet/visible (UV?vis) spectra of highly active push?pull chromophores containing the tricyanofuran (TCF) acceptor group. In particular, we have applied the recently developed long-range corrected Baer-Neuhauser-Livshits (BNL) exchange-correlation functional. The performance of this functional compares favorably with other density functional theory (DFT) approaches, including the CAM-B3LYP functional. The accuracy of UV-vis results for these molecules is best at low values of attenuation parameters (\gamma) for both BNL and CAM-B3LYP functionals. The optimal value of \gamma is different for the charge-transfer (CT) and valence excitations. The BNL and PBE0 exchange correlation functionals capture the CT states particularly well, while the ???* excitations are less accurate and system dependent. Chromophore conformations, which considerably affect the molecular hyperpolarizability, do not significantly influence the UV?vis spectra on average. As expected, the color of chromophores is a sensitive function of modifications to its conjugated framework and is not significantly affected by increasing aliphatic chain length linking a chromophore to a polymer. For selected push?pull aryl-chromophores, we find a significant dependence of absorption spectra on the strength of diphenylaminophenyl donors.

The distribution of rates of multiexciton generation following photon absorption is calculated for semiconductor nanocrystals (NCs). The rates of biexciton generation are calculated using Fermi’s golden rule with all relevant Coulomb matrix elements, taking into account proper selection rules within a screened semiempirical pseudopotential approach. In CdSe and InAs NCs, we find a broad distribution of biexciton generation rates depending strongly on the exciton energy and size of the NC. Multiexciton generation becomes inefficient for NCs exceeding 3 nm in diameter in the photon energy range of 2-3 times the band gap.

Frequency dependent exchange-correlation kernels for time-dependent density functional theory can be used to construct approximate exchange-correlation potentials. The resulting potentials are usually not translationally covariant nor do they obey the so-called zero-force condition. These two basic symmetry requirements are essential for using the potentials in actual applications (even in the linear regime). We provide two pragmatic methods for fully imposing these conditions for both linear and nonlinear regimes. As an example, we take the Gross and Kohn frequency dependent XC functional [Phys. Rev. Lett. 55, 2850 (1985)], correct it, and numerically test it on a sodium metal cluster. Violation of the basic symmetries causes instabilities or spurious low frequency modes.

It has been known for quite some time that approximate density functional (ADF) theories fail disastrously when describing the dissociative symmetric radical cations R2+. By considering this dissociation limit, previous work has shown that Hartree-Fock (HF) theory favors the R+1-R-0 charge distribution, whereas DF approximations favor the R+(0.5)-R+0.5. Yet, general quantum mechanical principles indicate that both these (as well as all intermediate) average charge distributions are asymptotically energy degenerate. Thus, HF and ADF theories mistakenly break the symmetry but in a contradicting way. In this letter, we show how to construct system-dependent long-range corrected (LC) density functionals that can successfully treat this class of molecules, avoiding the spurious symmetry breaking. Examples and comparisons to experimental data is given for R = H, He, and Ne, and it is shown that the new LC theory improves considerably the theoretical description of the R-2(+) bond properties, the long-range form of the asymptotic potential curve, and the atomic polarizability. The broader impact of this finding is discussed as well, and it is argued that the widespread semiempirical approach which advocates treating the LC parameter as a system-independent parameter is in fact inappropriate under general circumstances.

Control of conductance in molecular junctions is of key importance in the growing field of molecular electronics. The current in these junctions is often controlled by an electric gate designed to shift conductance peaks into the low bias regime. Magnetic fields, on the other hand, have rarely been used due to the small magnetic flux captured by molecular conductors ( an exception is the Kondo effect in single-molecule transistors). This is in contrast to a related field, electronic transport through mesoscopic devices, where considerable activity with magnetic fields has led to a rich description of transport. The scarcity of experimental activity is due to the belief that significant magnetic response is obtained only when the magnetic flux is of the order of the quantum flux, while attaining such a flux for molecular and nanoscale devices requires unrealistic magnetic fields. Here we review recent theoretical work regarding the essential physical requirements necessary for the construction of nanometer-scale magnetoresistance devices based on an Aharonov-Bohm molecular interferometer. We show that control of the conductance properties using small fractions of a magnetic flux can be achieved by carefully adjusting the lifetime of the conducting electrons through a pre-selected single state that is well separated from other states due to quantum confinement effects. Using a simple analytical model and more elaborate atomistic calculations we demonstrate that magnetic fields which give rise to a magnetic flux comparable to 10(-3) of the quantum flux can be used to switch a class of different molecular and nanometer rings, ranging from quantum corrals, carbon nanotubes and even a molecular ring composed of polyconjugated aromatic materials. The unique characteristics of the magnetic field as a gate is further discussed and demonstrated in two different directions. First, a three-terminal molecular router devices that can function as a parallel logic gate, processing two logic operations simultaneously, is presented. Second, the role of inelastic effects arising from electron-phonon couplings on the magnetoresistance properties is analyzed. We show that a remarkable difference between electric and magnetic gating is also revealed when inelastic effects become significant. The inelastic broadening of response curves to electric gates is replaced by a narrowing of magnetoconductance peaks, thereby enhancing the sensitivity of the device.

Pinpointing extrema on a multidimensional hypersurface is an important generic problem with a broad scope of application in statistical mechanics, biophysics, chemical reaction dynamics, and quantum chemistry. Local minima of the hypersurface correspond to metastable structures and are usually the most important points to look for. They are relatively easy to find using standard minimizing algorithms. A considerably more difficult task is the location of saddle points. The saddle points most sought for are those which form the lowest barriers between given minima and are usually required for determining rates of rare events. We formulate a path functional minimum principle for the saddle point. We then develop a cubic spline method for applying this principle and locating the saddle point(s) separating two local minima on a potential hypersurface. A quasi-Newton algorithm is used for minimization. The algorithm does not involve second derivatives of the hypersurface and the number of potential gradients evaluated is usually less than 10% of the number of potential evaluations. We demonstrate the performance of the method on several standard examples and on a concerted exchange mechanism for self-diffusion in diamond. Finally, we show that the method may be used for solving large constrained minimization problems which are relevant for self-consistent field iterations in large systems.

The presence of helium in carbon systems, such as diamonds and fullerenes is of interest for planetary sciences, geophysics, astrophysics, and evolution biology. Such systems typically involve a large number of atoms and require a fast method for assessing the interaction potential and forces. We developed a tight-binding approach, based on density functional calculations, which includes a many-body potential term. This latter term is essential for consolidating the density functional results of helium in bulky diamond and Helium passing through a benzene ring which is important for helium-fullerene applications. The method is simple to apply and exhibits good transferability properties.

A theory for the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) between a pair of semiconducting nanocrystal quantum dots is developed. Two types of donor-acceptor couplings for the FRET rate are described: dipole-dipole (d-d) and the dipole-quadrupole (d-q) couplings. The theory builds on a simple effective mass model that is used to relate the FRET rate to measureable quantities such as the nanocrystal size, fundamental gap, effective mass, exciton radius, and optical permittivity. We discuss the relative contribution to the FRET rate of the different multipole terms, the role of strong to weak confinement limits, and the effects of nanocrystal sizes. (C) 2008 American Institute of Physics.

The mapping of time-dependent densities on potentials in systems of identical quantum mechanical particles is examined. This mapping is of significance ever since Runge and Gross [Phys. Rev. Lett. 52, 997 (1984)] established its uniqueness, forming the theoretical basis for time-dependent density functional theory. Beyond uniqueness there are two important issues: existence, often called v-representability, and stability. We show that v-representability for localized densities in turn-on situations is not assured and we give a simple example of nonexistence. As for stability, we discuss an inversion procedure and by computing its Lyapunov exponents we demonstrate that the mapping is unstable with respect to fluctuations in the initial state. We argue that such instabilities will plague any inversion procedure.

We extend our previous results [R. Baer et al., J. Chem. Phys. 126, 014705 (2007).] to develop a simple theory of localized surface plasmon-polariton (LSPP) dispersion on regular arrays of metal nanoparticles in the weak-field and weak-damping limits. This theory describes the energy-momentum as well as the polarization-momentum properties of LSPP waves, both of which are crucial to plasmonic device design. We then explicitly compute the dispersion relation for isotropic and anisotropic two-dimensional square lattices, and show curve crossings between all three levels as well as negative refraction where the phase and group velocities (refractive indices), or at least their projection along the main axis, have different signs. The curve crossing implies that scattering between the different polarizations, and therefore different velocities, is easy at the curve crossing momenta, so that a quick change in wave packet direction can be achieved. Time-resolved wave packet dynamics simulations demonstrate negative refraction and the easy scattering over nanometer length scales. This paper also gives some computational schemes for future applications, such as a way to include source terms and how to efficiently treat dissipative effects.

This Invited Article reports extensions of a recently developed approach to density functional theory with correct long-range behavior (R. Baer and D. Neuhauser, Phys. Rev. Lett., 2005, 94, 043002). The central quantities are a splitting functional \gamma[n] and a complementary exchange-correlation functional E_\gammaXC[n]. We give a practical method for determining the value of \gamma in molecules, assuming an approximation for E_\gammaXC is given. The resulting theory shows good ability to reproduce the ionization potentials for various molecules. However it is not of sufficient accuracy for forming a satisfactory framework for studying molecular properties. A somewhat different approach is then adopted, which depends on a density-independent \gamma and an additional parameter w eliminating part of the local exchange functional. The values of these two parameters are obtained by best-fitting to experimental atomization energies and bond lengths of the molecules in the G2(1) database. The optimized values are \gamma = 0.5 a_0^-1 and w = 0.1. We then examine the performance of this slightly semi-empirical functional for a variety of molecular properties, comparing to related works and experiment. We show that this approach can be used for describing in a satisfactory manner a broad range of molecular properties, be they static or dynamic. Most satisfactory is the ability to describe valence, Rydberg and inter-molecular charge-transfer excitations.

Characterizing and localizing electronic energy degeneracies is important for describing and controlling electronic energy flow in molecules. We show, using topological phase considerations, that the Renner effect in polyatomic molecules with more than three nuclei is necessarily accompanied by 'satellite' conical intersections. In these intersections the non-adiabatic coupling term is on average half an integer. We present ab initio results on the tetra-atomic radical cation C2H+2 to demonstrate the theory.

Recently, the possibility of transporting electromagnetic energy as local-plasmon-polariton waves along arrays of silver nanoparticles was demonstrated experimentally [S. A. Maier et al., Nat. Mater. 2, 229 (2003)]. It was shown that dipole coupling facilitates phase-coherent excitation waves, which propagate while competing against decoherence effects occurring within each dot. In this article the authors study the ideal coherent shuttling in such a system, leaving decoherence for future investigation. In the weak field limit, the waves obey a Schrödinger equation, to be solved using either time-dependent wave-packet or energy resolved scattering techniques. The authors study some dynamical characteristics of these waves, emphasizing intuition and insight. Scattering from barriers, longitudinal-transverse coupling and acceleration methods are studied in detail. The authors also discuss briefly two-dimensional arrays and a simple decoherence model