Self-interaction correction to density-functional approximations for many-electron systems
Physical Review B (Condensed Matter)
The exact density functional for the ground-state energy is strictly self-interaction-free (i.e., orbitals demonstrably do not self-interact), but many approximations to it, including the local-spin-density (LSD) approximation for exchange and correlation, are not. We present two related methods for the self-interaction correction (SIC) of any density functional for the energy; correction of the self-consistent one-electron potenial follows naturally from the variational principle. Both methods
... ciple. Both methods are sanctioned by the Hohenberg-Kohn theorem, Although the first method introduces an orbital-dependent single-particle potential, the second involves a local potential as in the Kohn-Sham scheme. We apply the first method to LSD and show that it properly conserves the number content of the exchangecorrelation hole, while substantially improving the description of its shape. We apply this method to a number of physical problems, where the uncorrected LSD approach produces systematic errors. We find systematic improvements, qualitative as well as quantitative, from this simple correction. Benefits of SIC in atomic calculations include (i) improved values for the total energy and for the separate exchange and correlation pieces of it, (ii) accurate binding energies of negative ions, which are wrongly unstable in LSD, (iii) more accurate electron densities, (iv) orbital eigenvalues that closely approximate physical removal energies, including relaxation, and (v) correct longrange behavior of the potential and density, It appears that SIC can also remedy the LSD underestimate of the band gaps in insulators (as shown by numerical calculations for the rare-gas solids and CuCl), and the LSD overestimate of the cohesive energies of transition metals. The LSD spin splitting in atomic Ni and s-d interconfigurational energies of transition elements are almost unchanged by SIC. We also discuss the admissibility of fractional occupation numbers, and present a parametrization of the electron-gas correlation energy at any density, based on the recent results of Ceperley and Alder.