Electron nuclear dynamics with plane wave basis sets: complete theory and formalism

Erico S. Teixeira, Jorge A. Morales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Electron nuclear dynamics (END) is an ab initio quantum dynamics method that adopts a time-dependent, variational, direct, and non-adiabatic approach. The simplest-level (SL) END (SLEND) version employs a classical mechanics description for nuclei and a Thouless single-determinantal wave function for electrons. A higher-level END version, END/Kohn–Sham density functional theory, improves the electron correlation description of SLEND. While both versions can simulate various types of chemical reactions, they have difficulties to simulate scattering/capture of electrons to/from the continuum due to their reliance on localized Slater-type basis functions. To properly describe those processes, we formulate END with plane waves (PWs, END/PW), basis functions able to represent both bound and unbound electrons. As extra benefits, PWs also afford fast algorithms to simulate periodic systems, parametric independence from nuclear positions and momenta, and elimination of basis set linear dependencies and orthogonalization procedures. We obtain the END/PW formalism by extending the Thouless wave function and associated electron density to periodic systems, expressing the energy terms as functionals of the latter entities, and deriving the energy gradients with respect to nuclear and electronic variables. END/PW has a great potential to simulate electron processes in both periodic (crystal) and aperiodic (molecular) systems (the latter in a supercell approach). Following previous END studies, END/PW will be applied to electron scattering processes in proton cancer therapy reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number73
JournalTheoretical Chemistry Accounts
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Electron nuclear dynamics
  • Plane wave basis sets
  • Proton cancer therapy
  • Thouless state


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