The Importance of Being Inconsistent

Adam Wasserman, Jonathan Nafziger, Kaili Jiang, Min Cheol Kim, Eunji Sim, Kieron Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


We review the role of self-consistency in density functional theory (DFT). We apply a recent analysis to both KohnSham and orbital-free DFT, as well as to partition DFT, which generalizes all aspects of standard DFT. In each case, the analysis distinguishes between errors in approximate functionals versus errors in the self-consistent density. This yields insights into the origins of many errors in DFT calculations, especially those often attributed to self-interaction or delocalization error. In many classes of problems, errors can be substantially reduced by using better densities. We review the history of these approaches, discuss many of their applications, and give simple pedagogical examples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-581
Number of pages27
JournalAnnual Review of Physical Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 5

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2017 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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