Theoretical and Computational Chemistry

Nonadiabatic Dynamics Algorithms with Only Potential Energies and Gradients: Curvature-Driven Coherent Switching with Decay of Mixing and Curvature-Driven Trajectory Surface Hopping



Direct dynamics by mixed quantum–classical nonadiabatic methods is an important tool for understanding processes involving multiple electronic states. Very often, the computational bottleneck of such direct simulation comes from electronic structure theory. For example, at every time step of a trajectory, nonadiabatic dynamics requires potential energy surfaces, their gradients, and the matrix elements coupling the surfaces. The need for the couplings can be alleviated by employing the time derivatives of the wave functions, which can be evaluated from overlaps of electronic wave functions at successive timesteps. However, evaluation of overlap integrals is still expensive for large systems. In addition, for electronic structure methods for which the wave functions or the coupling matrix elements are not available, nonadiabatic dynamics algorithms become inapplicable. In this work, building on recent work by Baeck and An, we propose new nonadiabatic dynamics algorithms that only require adiabatic potential energies and their gradients. The new methods are named curvature- driven coherent switching with decay of mixing (κCSDM) and curvature-driven trajectory surface hopping (κTSH). We show how powerful these new methods are in terms of computer time and good agreement with methods employing nonadiabatic coupling vectors computed in conventional ways. The lowering of the computational cost will allow longer nonadiabatic trajectories and greater ensemble averaging to be affordable, and the ability to calculate the dynamics without electronic structure coupling matrix elements extends the dynamics capability to new classes of electronic structure methods.


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