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Development of Non-Local
Density Functional Methods

Dominik Bogdan Jochym

A thesis submitted for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

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Department of Physics
University of Durham



Density functional theory (DFT) is a popular approach to solving the many-electron Schrödinger equation, in order to investigate the properties of matter from first principles. While DFT can give the exact ground state electronic density of a system, in practice, an approximation is required for the many-body effects contained in the exchange-correlation functional. The accuracy of calculations performed using DFT is strongly related to the choice of approximation. In this thesis we will investigate and build upon a fully non-local approach to modeling exchange-correlation in the form of the weighted density approximation (WDA). Central to the WDA is the model function chosen for the coupling-constant averaged pair-correlation function (PCF). We show that a model PCF can be selected from a set to give excellent bulk properties for a particular system. However, this model is not necessarily transferable to other systems and there is no method of selecting an appropriate model from this set a priori. We suggest that the model PCF can be improved systematically by satisfying known physical constraints. One such constraint is the Kimball cusp condition, which we include in our model and implement. We demonstrate that surfaces are systems that require a non-local treatment of exchange-correlation by applying the WDA to metal surfaces and investigate the dissociative adsorption of H$ _2$ on the Cu(100) surface. A new framework for a model PCF with spin resolution is developed, providing a route for more physical constraints to be satisfied within a weighted spin density approximation (WSDA). A simple model is suggested and implemented and comparisons are made to the coupling-constant averaged PCF in the homogeneous electron gas. We then apply a selection of our new models to a number of materials and show that our model for the WSDA gives improved band gaps over the local density approximation. Application of the WSDA to spin polarised materials reveals shortcomings in our simple model. We then suggest further refinements to our implementation of the WSDA. It is expected that the inclusion of additional physical constraints will systematically improve results given in a weighted-density based approximation to exchange-correlation.

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Stewart Clark 2012-08-09