Transport through correlated systems with density functional theory

Journal Of Physics-Condensed Matter 29, 413002 (2017)

Transport through correlated systems with density functional theory

S. Kurth, G. Stefanucci

We present recent advances in Density Functional Theory (DFT) for applications to the field of quantum transport, with particular emphasis on transport through strongly correlated systems. We review the foundations of the popular Landauer-B ̈ uttiker(LB)+DFT approach. This formalism, when using approximations to the exchange-correlation (xc) potential with steps at integer occu- pation, correctly captures the Kondo plateau in the zero bias conductance at zero temperature but completely fails to capture the transition to the Coulomb blockade (CB) regime as temperature increases. Both of these effects are hallmarks of strong electronic correlations. To overcome the limitations of LB+DFT the quantum transport problem is treated from a time-dependent (TD) perspective using TDDFT, an exact framework to deal with nonequilibrium situations. The steady- state limit of TDDFT shows that in addition to an xc potential in the junction, there also exists an xc correction to the applied bias. Open shell molecules in the CB regime provide the most striking examples of the importance of the xc bias correction. Using the Anderson model as guidance we estimate these corrections for a class of systems in the limit of zero bias. For the general case we put forward a steady-state DFT which is based on the one-to-one correspondence between the pair of basic variables steady density on and steady current across the junction and the pair local potential on and bias across the junction. Like TDDFT, this framework also leads to both an xc potential in the junction and an xc correction to the bias. Unlike in TDDFT, these potentials are independent of history. We highlight the universal features of both xc potential and xc bias corrections for junc- tions in the CB regime. We also provide an accurate parametrization of both xc potentials for the Anderson model at arbitrary temperatures and interaction strengths thus providing a unified DFT description for both Kondo and CB regimes and the transition between them.

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