Breaking symmetry in time-dependent electronic structure theory to describe spectroscopic properties of non-collinear and chiral molecules.
Goings, Joshua James
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Time-dependent electronic structure theory has the power to predict and probe the ways electron dynamics leads to useful phenomena and spectroscopic data. Here we report several advances and extensions of broken-symmetry time-dependent electronic structure theory in order to capture the flexibility required to describe non-equilibrium spin dynamics, as well as electron dynamics for chiroptical properties and vibrational effects. In the first half, we begin by discussing the generalization of self-consistent field methods to the so-called two-component structure in order to capture non-collinear spin states. This means that individual electrons are allowed to take a superposition of spin-1/2 projection states, instead of being constrained to either spin-up or spin-down. The system is no longer a spin eigenfunction, and is known a a spin-symmetry broken wave function. This flexibility to break spin symmetry may lead to variational instabilities in the approximate wave function, and we discuss how these may be overcome. With a stable non-collinear wave function in hand, we then discuss how to obtain electronic excited states from the non-collinear reference, along with associated challenges in their physical interpretation. Finally, we extend the two-component methods to relativistic Hamiltonians, which is the proper setting for describing spin-orbit driven phenomena. We describe the first implementation of the explicit time propagation of relativistic two-component methods and how this may be used to capture spin-forbidden states in electronic absorption spectra. In the second half, we describe the extension of explicitly time-propagated wave functions to the simulation of chiroptical properties, namely circular dichroism (CD) spectra of chiral molecules. Natural circular dichroism, that is, CD in the absence of magnetic fields, originates in the broken parity symmetry of chiral molecules. This proves to be an efficient method for computing circular dichroism spectra for high density-of-states chiral molecules. Next, we explore the impact of allowing nuclear motion on electronic absorption spectra within the context of mixed quantum-classical dynamics. We show that nuclear motion modulates the electronic response, and this gives rise to infrared absorption as well as Raman scattering phenomena in the computed dynamic polarizability. Finally, we explore the accuracy of several perturbative approximations to the equation-of-motion coupled-cluster methods for the efficient and accurate prediction of electronic absorption spectra.
- Chemistry