

THEORETICAL NANOPHYSICS Group 




JengDa Chai
(蔡政達)
Professor
Department of Physics
National Taiwan University
No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road
Taipei 10617, Taiwan
Office: R534, New Physics Building, NTU
Phone: +886233665586
Fax: +886223639984
Email: jdchai@phys.ntu.edu.tw
Website: http://web.phys.ntu.edu.tw/jdchai/

Academic Websites:
Professional Experience:
 Professor, Department of Physics, National Taiwan University (2017.8present)
 Associate Professor, Department of Physics, National Taiwan University (2013.82017.7)
 Center Scientist, Physics Division, National Center for Theoretical Sciences (North) (2014.12014.12)
 Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, National Taiwan University (2009.82013.7)
 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley and Chemical Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2006.12009.6)
Education:
 Ph.D. in Chemical Physics, University of Maryland, College Park (2002.72005.12)
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 M.S. in Physics (Ph.D. Candidate), The Ohio State University (1999.92002.6)
 B.S. in Physics (with a minor in Mathematics), National Taiwan University (1993.91997.6)
Awards and Honors:
 Excellence in Teaching Award, National Taiwan University, Taiwan (2019)
 Project for Excellent Junior Research Investigators, Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (20182021)
 Excellence in Teaching Award, National Taiwan University, Taiwan (2018)
 Junior Research Investigators Award, Academia Sinica, Taiwan (2017)
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 Outstanding Young Physicist Award, The Physical Society of Taiwan (2016)
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 Project for Excellent Junior Research Investigators, Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (20152018)
 Career Development Award, National Taiwan University, Taiwan (20152016)
 Youth Medal, China Youth Corps, Taiwan (2015)
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 TWAS Young Affiliate, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS)  for the advancement of science in developing countries (20132017)
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 Career Development Award, National Taiwan University, Taiwan (20132015)
 Young Theorist Award, National Center for Theoretical Sciences, Taiwan (2012)
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 EPSON Scholarship Award, The International Society for Theoretical Chemical Physics (2011)
Software Development:
 Developer, QChem Inc. (2008present)
[Theoretical methods developed in our group may be available in QChem ]
Journal Editorial Boards:
 Editorial Board, International Journal of Quantum Chemistry (2018.3present)
 Editorial Board, Chinese Journal of Physics (2017.12present)
 Editorial Board, London Journals Press (2016.9present)
 Editorial Board, International Journal of Advanced Research in Physical Science (2016.8present)
 Editorial Board, The Open Access Journal of Science and Technology (2016.3present)
 Editorial Board, Mediterranean Journal of Physics (2016.1present)
 Editorial Board, Journal of Lasers, Optics & Photonics (2015.9present)
 Editorial Board, Open Journal of Physical Chemistry (2011.3present)
Journal Referees:
 Nature Communications
 Scientific Reports
 Journal of Chemical Physics
 Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation
 Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
 Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters
 Journal of Physical Chemistry
 Chemical Science
 Nanoscale
 Journal of Materials Chemistry C
 RSC Advances
 The Chemical Record
 Journal of Computational Chemistry
 International Journal of Quantum Chemistry
 Theoretical Chemistry Accounts
 Molecular Physics
 Chemical Physics Letters
 Journal of Applied Physics
 Chemistry—A European Journal
 Journal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers
 Bulletin of the Chemical Society of Japan
 Molecules
 Synthetic Metals
 Journal of Electronic Materials
 Entropy
 Chinese Journal of Physics
 Acta PhysicoChimica Sinica
 Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling
 Structural Chemistry
 Journal of Theoretical and Computational Chemistry
 Computation
Research Interests:
"The underlying physical laws necessary for the mathematical theory of a large part of physics and the whole of chemistry
are thus completely known, and the difficulty is only that the exact application of these laws leads to equations much too
complicated to be soluble. It therefore becomes desirable that approximate practical methods of applying quantum mechanics
should be developed, which can lead to an explanation of the main features of complex atomic systems without too much
computation." P. A. M. Dirac (1929)
To meet the challenge, our group has focused on the development of new quantummechanical methods (e.g.,
thermallyassistedoccupation density functional theory) suitable for the study of nanoscale systems (with 100~1,000,000 electrons),
and their applications to novel systems at the nanoscale (e.g., Möbius molecules, triangleshaped graphene nanoflakes, linear and cyclic carbon chains,
linear and cyclic boron nanoribbons) and materials for new energy (e.g., solar cells, hydrogen storage materials).
Specific research topics are the following.
1. KohnSham Density Functional Theory (KSDFT)
A. Goal:
a. Exchange Energy Density Functional
b. Correlation Energy Density Functional
c. LinearScaling Methods
B. Direction:
a. SelfInteraction Error
b. Noncovalent Interaction Error
c. Static Correlation Error
C. Suitable Systems:
Systems with 100~1,000 electrons (the Schrödinger equation and highly accurate ab initio methods are inappropriate due to their expensive computational costs)
2. ThermallyAssistedOccupation Density Functional Theory (TAODFT)
A. Density Functional Approximations
B. Fictitious Temperature
C. Fundamental Properties
D. Extensions
E. Strongly Correlated Electron Systems at the Nanoscale
Description:
For systems with strong static correlation effects (i.e., systems possessing radical character or multireference systems), KSDFT employing the LDA, GGA, MGGA,
hybrid, and doublehybrid exchangecorrelation energy functionals can provide unreliable results, due to the inappropriate treatment of static correlation.
To accurately predict the properties of these systems, highlevel ab initio multireference electronic structure methods are typically needed. However,
accurate multireference calculations are prohibitively expensive for large systems (especially for geometry optimization). Consequently, it remains very
challenging to investigate the properties of strongly correlated electron systems at the nanoscale using conventional electronic structure methods.
Aiming to study the groundstate properties of strongly correlated electron systems at the nanoscale with minimum computational complexity, we have recently
developed TAODFT [1].
Unlike finitetemperature density functional theory, TAODFT is developed for groundstate systems at zero (physical) temperature (just like KSDFT).
In contrast to KSDFT, TAODFT is a density functional theory with fractional orbital occupations produced by the FermiDirac distribution (controlled by
a fictitious (reference) temperature), wherein strong static correlation is shown to be explicitly described by the entropy contribution. Similar to the static
correlation energy of a system, the entropy contribution in TAODFT is always nonpositive, yielding insignificant contributions for a singlereference system
(i.e., a system possessing nonradical character), and significantly lowering the total energy of a multireference system. TAODFT has similar computational
cost as KSDFT for singlepoint energy and analytical nuclear gradient calculations, and reduces to KSDFT in the absence of strong static correlation effects.
Besides, existing exchangecorrelation energy functionals and dispersion correction schemes in KSDFT may also be adopted in TAODFT [2].
Recently, we have defined the exact exchange in TAODFT, and developed the corresponding global and rangeseparated hybrid schemes in TAODFT for an improved
description of nonlocal exchange effects [3]. With some simple modifications, global hybrid functionals [3] and rangeseparated hybrid functionals [3, 5] in
KSDFT can be combined seamlessly with TAODFT. Relative to TAODFAs (i.e., TAODFT with the density functional approximations), global hybrid functionals in
TAODFT are generally superior in performance for a wide range of applications, such as thermochemistry, kinetics, reaction energies, and optimized geometries.
Very recently, we have proposed a selfconsistent scheme for the determination of the fictitious temperature in TAODFT [4]. Relative to the systemindependent
fictitious temperature scheme in TAODFT, the selfconsistent fictitious temperature scheme in TAODFT is generally superior in performance for a very broad
range of applications. To obtain excitedstate properties within the framework of TAODFT, the frequencydomain formulation of linearresponse timedependent
TAODFT (TDTAODFT) [6] has been recently developed.
To explore the equilibrium thermodynamic and dynamical properties of nanosystems with radical character at finite temperatures, we have recently
combined TAODFT with ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD), yielding TAODFTbased AIMD (TAOAIMD) [7]. In TAOAIMD, the atomic nuclei of an electronic system
move based on the classical Newtonian equations of motion on the groundstate potential energy surface generated by TAODFT. To show some of the capabilities
of TAOAIMD, we have carried out TAOAIMD simulations to study the instantaneous/average radical character and infrared (IR) spectra of nacenes (containing
n = 2–8 fused benzene rings) at 300 K. On the basis of the TAOAIMD simulations, on average, the smaller nacenes (n = 2–5) exhibit nonradical character, and
the larger nacenes (n = 6–8) exhibit increasing radical character, displaying remarkable similarities to the groundstate counterparts at 0 K. Moreover, the
IR spectra of nacenes obtained with the TAOAIMD simulations are in qualitative agreement with the existing experimental data.
To demonstrate the applicability of TAODFT, we have recently employed TAODFT to study the groundstate properties of various strongly correlated electron
systems at the nanoscale.
First, in our recent study [9], the orbital occupation numbers obtained from TAODFT have been shown to be qualitatively similar to the natural orbital
occupation numbers (NOONs) obtained from the variational twoelectron reduceddensitymatrixdriven completeactivespace selfconsistentfield (v2RDMCASSCF)
method (i.e., an accurate multireference electronic structure method that can be applied to treat active spaces that are too large for conventional CASSCF),
yielding a similar trend for the radical character of the 24 alternant polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) studied.
Besides, we have investigated the role of Kekulé and nonKekulé structures in the radical character of several alternant PAHs using TAODFT. Our results have
revealed that the studies of Kekulé and nonKekulé structures qualitatively describe the radical character of alternant PAHs, which could be useful when
electronic structure calculations are infeasible due to the expensive computational cost.
Second, we have employed TAODFT to study the electronic properties of zigzag graphene nanoflakes of different shapes and sizes, such as zigzag graphene
nanoribbons (ZGNRs) [8], hexagonshaped graphene nanoflakes with n fused benzene rings at each side (ncoronenes) [14], triangleshaped graphene nanoflakes
with n fused benzene rings at each side (ntriangulenes) [17], and diamondshaped graphene nanoflakes with n benzenoid rings fused together at each side
(npyrenes) [18]. On the basis of our TAODFT results, the electronic properties of ZGNRs, ncoronenes, ntriangulenes, and npyrenes are distinctly different.
For example, ZGNRs exhibit an oscillatory polyradical nature with increasing ribbon length, and the polyradical nature is also highly dependent on the ribbon
width. By contrast, with increasing system size, there is a monotonic transition from the nonradical nature of the smaller ncoronenes to the increasing
polyradical nature of the larger ncoronenes. Moreover, the latter should be closely related to the localization of active orbitals at the zigzag edges, which
increases with the increase of the side length. On the other hand, ntriangulenes possess a very significant polyradical nature (e.g., the occupation numbers
of active spin orbitals are all very close to 0.5), yielding approximately (n − 1) unpaired electrons in their ground states. Note that npyrene (i.e., a
diamondshaped graphene nanoflake) can be viewed as two interconnected triangleshaped graphene nanoflakes. When n increases, there is a smooth transition from
the nonradical character of the smaller npyrenes to the increasing polyradical nature of the larger npyrenes. Furthermore, the latter is shown to be related
to the increasing concentration of active orbitals on the zigzag edges of the larger npyrenes.
These examples clearly support the statement that the radical nature of graphene nanoflakes is intimately correlated with the shapes, edges, and sizes of
graphene nanoflakes.
Third, to investigate the significance of cyclic and Möbius topologies, we have studied the electronic properties of cyclacenes [11] and Möbius cyclacenes [15]
using TAODFT, and have also compared these properties with the respective properties of acenes, containing the same number of fused benzene rings. Similar to
acenes, the ground states of cyclacenes and Möbius cyclacenes are singlets for all the cases studied. In contrast to acenes, the electronic properties of
cyclacenes and Möbius cyclacenes, however, exhibit oscillatory behavior for the smaller cyclacenes and Möbius cyclacenes in the approach to the corresponding
properties of acenes with increasing number of benzene rings. The larger cyclacenes and Möbius cyclacenes should exhibit increasing polyradical character in
their ground states, with the active orbitals being mainly localized at the peripheral carbon atoms. Interestingly, the groundstate geometry of Möbius cyclacene
is composed mainly of an essentially untwisted open chain plus a highly twisted stripe. In other words, the twist is not evenly distributed along the whole chain.
Fourth, we have employed TAODFT to investigate the electronic properties of linear carbon chains and cyclic carbon chains [19], possessing polyradical nature
when the system size is sufficiently large. For all the cases studied, linear and cyclic carbon chains are groundstate singlets; cyclic carbon chains are
energetically more stable than linear carbon chains. The electronic properties of linear and cyclic carbon chains exhibit nontrivial oscillation patterns for the
smaller carbon chains. For example, the smaller cyclic carbon chains containing 4m + 2 carbon atoms (e.g., up to 4m + 2 = 46) possess nonradical nature, and the
cyclic carbon chains containing 4m carbon atoms possess tetraradical nature, where m are positive integers. According to our TAODFT results, the cyclic carbon
chains containing 10, 14, 18, and 22 carbon atoms, which possess nonradical nature and sizable singlettriplet energy gaps, are likely to be synthesized in the
near future. Note that among them, the cyclic carbon chains containing 18 carbon atoms have been recently synthesized.
Fifth, we have adopted TAODFT to study the electronic properties of twoatomwide linear boron nanoribbons and cyclic boron nanoribbons [16], which exhibit
polyradical character when the system size is considerably large. The electronic properties of the cyclic boron nanoribbons exhibit more pronounced oscillatory
patterns than those of the linear boron nanoribbons when the system size is small, and converge to the respective properties of linear boron nanoribbons when
the system size is sufficiently large. The active orbitals are delocalized along the length of linear boron nanoribbons or the circumference of cyclic boron
nanoribbons. Since materials with several delocalized electrons tend to be highly conductive, the delocalized electrons of the boron nanoribbons are expected to
enable enhanced electrical conductivity. From our TAODFT results, the cyclic boron nanoribbons are more stable than the linear boron nanoribbons for all the
cases studied, revealing the role of cyclic topology.
In addition, we have shown that Liadsorbed acenes [10], Literminated linear carbon chains [12], and Literminated linear boron chains [13] can be highcapacity
hydrogen storage materials (HSMs) for reversible hydrogen uptake and release at ambient (or nearambient) conditions using dispersioncorrected TAODFT.
Accordingly, the search for ideal HSMs can be readily extended to large systems with strong static correlation effects.
References:
a. TAODFT:
[1]
J.D. Chai*, J. Chem. Phys. 136, 154104 (2012).
b. Extensions of TAODFT:
[2]
J.D. Chai*, J. Chem. Phys. 140, 18A521 (2014).
[3]
J.D. Chai*, J. Chem. Phys. 146, 044102 (2017).
[4]
C.Y. Lin, K. Hui, J.H. Chung, and J.D. Chai*, RSC Adv. 7, 50496 (2017).
[5]
F. Xuan, J.D. Chai*, and H. Su*, ACS Omega 4, 7675 (2019).
[6]
S.H. Yeh, A. Manjanath, Y.C. Cheng, J.D. Chai*, and C.P. Hsu*, J. Chem. Phys. 153, 084120 (2020).
[7]
S. Li and J.D. Chai*, Front. Chem., doi: 10.3389/fchem.2020.589432 (2020).
c. Applications of TAODFT:
[8]
C.S. Wu and J.D. Chai*, J. Chem. Theory Comput. 11, 2003 (2015).
[9]
C.N. Yeh and J.D. Chai*, Sci. Rep. 6, 30562 (2016).
[10]
S. Seenithurai and J.D. Chai*, Sci. Rep. 6, 33081 (2016).
[11]
C.S. Wu, P.Y. Lee, and J.D. Chai*, Sci. Rep. 6, 37249 (2016).
[12]
S. Seenithurai and J.D. Chai*, Sci. Rep. 7, 4966 (2017).
[13]
S. Seenithurai and J.D. Chai*, Sci. Rep. 8, 13538 (2018).
[14]
C.N. Yeh, C. Wu, H. Su*, and J.D. Chai*, RSC Adv. 8, 34350 (2018).
[15]
J.H. Chung and J.D. Chai*, Sci. Rep. 9, 2907 (2019).
[16]
S. Seenithurai and J.D. Chai*, Sci. Rep. 9, 12139 (2019).
[17]
Q. Deng and J.D. Chai*, ACS Omega 4, 14202 (2019).
[18]
H.J. Huang, S. Seenithurai, and J.D. Chai*, Nanomaterials 10, 1236 (2020).
[19]
S. Seenithurai and J.D. Chai*, Sci. Rep. 10, 13133 (2020).
[Presentation:
Webinar on TAODFT
]
[Availability:
TAODFT (for singlepoint energy and analytical nuclear gradient calculations) is available in
QChem 4.3 or higher
]
3. OrbitalFree Density Functional Theory
A. Goal:
a. Kinetic Energy Density Functional
b. Pseudopotentials
B. Direction:
a. Linear Response Theory
b. KEDFs in Certain Situations
c. Transferable Pseudopotentials
C. Suitable Systems:
Systems with 1,000~1,000,000 electrons (KohnSham density functional theory is inappropriate due to its high computational cost)
4. TimeDependent Density Functional Theory
A. ExchangeCorrelation Action Functional
B. Excited States
C. RealTime Electron Dynamics
D. Quantum Transport
E. Quantum Hydrodynamics
5. Materials for New Energy
A. Organic Solar Cells
B. Hydrogen Storage Materials



