Fluctuation-dissipation theorem density-functional theory
Using the fluctuation-dissipation theorem (FDT) in the context of density-functional theory (DFT), one can derive an exact expression for the ground-state correlation energy in terms of the frequency-dependent density response function. When combined with time-dependent density-functional theory, a new class of density functionals results that use approximations to the exchange-correlation kernel fxc as input. This FDT-DFT scheme holds promise to solve two of the most distressing problems of conventional Kohn–Sham DFT: (i) It leads to correlation energy functionals compatible with exact exchange, and (ii) it naturally includes dispersion. The price is a moderately expensive O(N6) scaling of computational cost and a slower basis set convergence. These general features of FDT-DFT have all been recognized previously. In this paper, we present the first benchmark results for a set of molecules using FDT-DFT beyond the random-phase approximation (RPA)—that is, the first such results with fxc ≠ 0. We show that kernels derived from the adiabatic local-density approximation and other semilocal functionals suffer from an “ultraviolet catastrophe,” producing a pair density that diverges at small interparticle distance. Nevertheless, dispersion interactions can be treated accurately if hybrid functionals are employed, as is demonstrated for He2 and HeNe. We outline constraints that future approximations to fxc should satisfy and discuss the prospects of FDT-DFT.