Molecular DFT+U for delocalization error

While density functional theory (DFT) is widely applied for its combination of cost and accuracy, corrections (e.g., DFT+U) that improve it are often needed to tackle correlated transition-metal chemistry. In principle, the functional form of DFT+U, consisting of a set of localized atomic orbitals (AO) and a quadratic energy penalty for deviation from integer occupations of those AOs, enables the recovery of the exact conditions of piecewise linearity and the derivative discontinuity. Nevertheless, for practical transition-metal complexes, where both atomic states and ligand orbitals participate in bonding, standard DFT+U can fail to eliminate delocalization error (DE). Here, we show that by introducing an alternative valence-state (i.e., molecular orbital or MO) basis to the DFT+U approach, we recover exact conditions in cases where standard DFT+U corrections have no error-reducing effect. This MO-based DFT+U also eliminates DE where standard AO-based DFT+U is already successful. We demonstrate the transferability of our approach on representative transition-metal complexes with a range of ligand field strengths, electron configurations (i.e., from Sc to Zn), and spin states.

Check out Akash's recent article in J. Phys. Chem. Lett. here!

About Us

The Kulik group focuses on the development and application of new electronic structure methods and atomistic simulations tools in the broad area of catalysis.

Our Interests

We are interested in transition metal chemistry, with applications from biological systems (i.e. enzymes) to nonbiological applications in surface science and molecular catalysis.

Our Focus

A key focus of our group is to understand mechanistic features of complex catalysts and to facilitate and develop tools for computationally driven design.

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