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Excited State Orbital Optimization via Minimizing the Square of the Gradient: General Approach and Application to Singly and Doubly Excited States via Density Functional Theory

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posted on 14.02.2020 by Diptarka Hait, Martin Head-Gordon
We present a general approach to converge excited state solutions to any quantum chemistry orbital optimization process, without the risk of variational collapse. The resulting square gradient minimization (SGM) approach only requires analytic energy/Lagrangian orbital gradients and merely costs 3 times as much as ground state orbital optimization (per iteration), when implemented via a finite difference approach. SGM is applied to both single determinant ΔSCF and spin-purified restricted open-shell Kohn–Sham (ROKS) approaches to study the accuracy of orbital optimized DFT excited states. It is found that SGM can converge challenging states where the maximum overlap method (MOM) or analogues either collapse to the ground state or fail to converge. We also report that ΔSCF/ROKS predict highly accurate excitation energies for doubly excited states (which are inaccessible via TDDFT). Singly excited states obtained via ROKS are also found to be quite accurate, especially for Rydberg states that frustrate (semi)­local TDDFT. Our results suggest that orbital optimized excited state DFT methods can be used to push past the limitations of TDDFT to doubly excited, charge-transfer, or Rydberg states, making them a useful tool for the practical quantum chemist’s toolbox for studying excited states in large systems.