A multiconfigurational time-dependent Hartree-Fock method for excited electronic states. I. General formalism and application to open-shell states

R. P. Miranda*, A. J. Fisher, L. Stella, A. P. Horsfield

*Corresponding author for this work

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44 Citations (Scopus)


The solution of the time-dependent Schrodinger equation for systems of interacting electrons is generally a prohibitive task, for which approximate methods are necessary. Popular approaches, such as the time-dependent Hartree-Fock (TDHF) approximation and time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT), are essentially single-configurational schemes. TDHF is by construction incapable of fully accounting for the excited character of the electronic states involved in many physical processes of interest; TDDFT, although exact in principle, is limited by the currently available exchange-correlation functionals. On the other hand, multiconfigurational methods, such as the multiconfigurational time-dependent Hartree-Fock (MCTDHF) approach, provide an accurate description of the excited states and can be systematically improved. However, the computational cost becomes prohibitive as the number of degrees of freedom increases, and thus, at present, the MCTDHF method is only practical for few-electron systems. In this work, we propose an alternative approach which effectively establishes a compromise between efficiency and accuracy, by retaining the smallest possible number of configurations that catches the essential features of the electronic wavefunction. Based on a time-dependent variational principle, we derive the MCTDHF working equation for a multiconfigurational expansion with fixed coefficients and specialise to the case of general open-shell states, which are relevant for many physical processes of interest. (C) 2011 American Institute of Physics. [doi: 10.1063/1.3600397]

Original languageEnglish
Article number244101
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2011


  • Schrodinger equation
  • molecular electronic states
  • excited states
  • HF calculations

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