Correlation energies within the range-separated RPA

One of the less attractive features of calculating the electronic correlation energy within the random-phase approximation (RPA) is having to describe the \(1/r\) divergence of the Coulomb interaction. Describing this divergence in a plane-wave basis set requires in turn a large basis set for the response function \(\chi^{KS}(\omega)\), and this soon becomes very demanding on computational resources.

The scheme proposed in Ref. 1 tries to avoid this problem by considering the RPA energy with an effective Coulomb interaction \(v^{LR}\), i.e.

\[E_c^{LR-RPA} = \int_0^{\infty}\frac{d\omega}{2\pi}\text{Tr}\Big[\text{ln}\{1-\chi^0(i\omega)v^{LR}\}+\chi^0(i\omega)v^{LR}\Big],\]


\[v^{LR}(r) = \frac{\text{erf}(r/r_c)}{r}.\]

The error function \(\text{erf}(x)\) quickly goes to zero at the origin and tends to 1 at large \(x\). Thus \(v^{LR}\) is identical to the Coulomb interaction in the long-range (LR) limit, but goes smoothly to zero at small distance. The transition between long and short-range (SR) behaviour is governed by the range-separation parameter \(r_c\), which is chosen by the user. In the limit of very small \(r_c\) the full RPA is restored.

The remaining problem is how to restore the SR part of the Coulomb interaction. The solution of Ref. 1 is to use a local-density approximation and the homogeneous electron gas, and write

\[E_c^{SR-RPA} = \int d\vec{r} \varepsilon_c^{SR}(n^v(\vec{r}),r_c)\]


\[\varepsilon_c^{SR}(n,r_c) = \varepsilon_c^{RPA}(n) - \varepsilon_c^{LR}(n,r_c).\]

The quantities \(\varepsilon_c^{RPA}(n)\) and \(\varepsilon_c^{LR}(n,r_c)\) are the correlation energies (normalized to the appropriate number of electrons) of the homogeneous electron gas (HEG), calculated with the full Coulomb interaction and with only the long-range part, respectively. The total correlation energy is evaluted as \(E_c^{LR-RPA} + E_c^{SR-RPA}\). Note that the quantity \(n^v(\vec{r})\) is the density of valence electrons, i.e. only the electrons which are used to construct \(\chi^{KS}\). In PAW language this quantity is the “all-electron valence density”.

Of course it should be remembered that partitioning the correlation energy in this way will only yield the exact RPA result either in the limit of vanishing \(r_c\) or (trivially) for the HEG. Ref. 1 applies the scheme for a variety of systems. Here we focus on one example and calculate the correlation energy of bulk Si as a function of \(r_c\), and compare it to the full RPA result.

Example 1: Correlation energy of silicon

The range-separated RPA calculations are performed in the same framework as the RPA, so it may also be useful to consult the tutorials Calculating RPA correlation energies. We start with a converged ground-state calculation to get the electronic wavefunctions:

from import bulk
from gpaw import GPAW, FermiDirac
from import PW

bulk_si = bulk('Si', a=5.42935602)
calc = GPAW(mode=PW(400.0),
            kpts={'size': (4, 4, 4), 'gamma': True},
            parallel={'domain': 1},

bulk_si.calc = calc
E_lda = bulk_si.get_potential_energy()
calc.write('si.lda_wfcs.gpw', mode='all')

This calculation will take about a minute on a single CPU. Now we use the following script to get the RPA correlation in the range-separated approach, using a number of values for \(r_c\). For the values of the plane-wave cutoff and number of bands used to evaluate \(\chi^{KS}\), we use the values reported in Ref. 1:

from gpaw.xc.fxc import FXCCorrelation
from ase.units import Hartree
from ase.parallel import paropen

resultfile = paropen('range_results.dat', 'w')

# Standard RPA result
resultfile.write(str(0.0) + ' ' + str(-12.250) + '\n')

# Suggested parameters from Bruneval, PRL 108, 256403 (2012)
rc_list = [0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0]
cutoff_list = [11.0, 5.0, 2.25, 0.75, 0.75]
nbnd_list = [500, 200, 100, 50, 40]

for rc, ec, nbnd in zip(rc_list, cutoff_list, nbnd_list):
    fxc = FXCCorrelation('si.lda_wfcs.gpw',
                         txt='si_range.' + str(rc) + '.txt',
    E_i = fxc.calculate(ecut=[ec * Hartree], nbands=nbnd)
    resultfile.write(str(rc) + ' ' + str(E_i[0]) + '\n')

This script should take about 10 minutes when run on 8 CPUs. If you look in one of the output files, e.g. si_range.4.0.txt, you should find the line

Short range correlation energy/unit cell = -11.7496 eV

which is \(E_c^{SR-RPA}\). The code then reports the total RPA energy \(E_c^{LR-RPA} + E_c^{SR-RPA}\) at the end of the file.

Below we plot these numbers, and compare to the RPA energy calculated in the standard approach (\(r_c=0\)). The same plot is reported in 1 (Fig. 1). One can see that for \(r_c<2\), there is pretty good agreement between the range-separated and standard approaches. The difference is, the range-separated approach requires less computational firepower (e.g. a cutoff of 80 eV at \(r_c=2\), compared to 400 eV for the standard approach).


We end with the reminder that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and this scheme requires careful testing on a system-by-system basis. As its name suggests, \(r_c\) is a parameter; larger values allow faster convergence, but reduced accuracy. Also, the construction of the all-electron valence density on the grid can sometimes throw up problems, so you are strongly advised to check that the Density integrates to XXX electrons line in the output file delivers the expected number of valence electrons.


F. Bruneval Phys. Rev. Lett 108, 256403 (2012)