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Plane-Wave Implementation and Performance of à-la-Carte Coulomb-Attenuated Exchange-Correlation Functionals for Predicting Optical Excitation Energies in Some Notorious Cases

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journal contribution
posted on 16.04.2018, 00:00 authored by Martin P. Bircher, Ursula Rothlisberger
Linear-response time-dependent density functional theory (LR-TD-DFT) has become a valuable tool in the calculation of excited states of molecules of various sizes. However, standard generalized-gradient approximation and hybrid exchange-correlation (xc) functionals often fail to correctly predict charge-transfer (CT) excitations with low orbital overlap, thus limiting the scope of the method. The Coulomb-attenuation method (CAM) in the form of the CAM-B3LYP functional has been shown to reliably remedy this problem in many CT systems, making accurate predictions possible. However, in spite of a rather consistent performance across different orbital overlap regimes, some pitfalls remain. Here, we present a fully flexible and adaptable implementation of the CAM for Γ-point calculations within the plane-wave pseudopotential molecular dynamics package CPMD and explore how customized xc functionals can improve the optical spectra of some notorious cases. We find that results obtained using plane waves agree well with those from all-electron calculations employing atom-centered bases, and that it is possible to construct a new Coulomb-attenuated xc functional based on simple considerations. We show that such a functional is able to outperform CAM-B3LYP in some cases, while retaining similar accuracy in systems where CAM-B3LYP performs well.