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Open-system Kohn-Sham density functional theory

Zhou, Y.; Ernzerhof, M.

Journal of Chemical Physics 136(9): 094105

2012

A simple model for electron transport through molecules is provided by the source-sink potential (SSP) method [F. Goyer, M. Ernzerhof, and M. Zhuang, J. Chem. Phys. 126, 144104 (2007)]. In SSP, the boundary conditions of having an incoming and outgoing electron current are enforced through complex potentials that are added to the Hamiltonian. Depending on the sign of the imaginary part of the potentials, current density is generated or absorbed. In this way, a finite system can be used to model infinite molecular electronic devices. The SSP has originally been developed for the Hückel method and subsequently it has been extended [F. Goyer and M. Ernzerhof, J. Chem. Phys. 134, 174101 (2011)] to the Hubbard model. Here we present a step towards its generalization for first-principles electronic structure theory methods. In particular, drawing on our earlier work, we discuss a new generalized density functional theory for complex non-Hermitian Hamiltonians. This theory enables us to combine SSP and Kohn-Sham theory to obtain a method for the description of open systems that exchange current density with their environment. Similarly, the Hartree-Fock method is extended to the realm of non-Hermitian, SSP containing Hamiltonians. As a proof of principle, we present the first applications of complex-density functional theory (CODFT) as well as non-Hermitian Hartree-Fock theory to electron transport through molecules.

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