The MPC interaction was tested by performing calculations using HF theory, VMC and DMC. LDA-DFT was used for the IPFSE corrections. A series of calculations on diamond structure silicon using fcc simulation cells of increasing size. Cells whose translation vectors are times those of the primitive unit cell were used.
In an initial set of tests LDA and HF results were compared. These tests are inexpensive and are not subject to statistical errors because Monte Carlo techniques are not involved. Simulation cells with = 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, which contain 2, 16, 54, 128, and 250 ions, respectively were considered. The Si ions were represented by norm-conserving non-local LDA pseudopotentials and the calculations were performed using a plane-wave basis set with a cutoff energy of 15 Ry.
To measure the IPFSE and the effect of k-point selection, calculations were performed using and . To facilitate comparison the HF energy was evaluated non-consistently with the LDA orbitals, so that the energy differences arise solely from the difference between the LDA XC energy and the HF exchange energy.
The HF energy evaluated with the MPC interaction is
where is the ion-ion energy calculated with the Ewald interaction. Note that the Hartree energy is evaluated with the Ewald interaction while the exchange energy is evaluated with , the cutoff Coulomb interaction.
In figure 6.1 the deviations of the LDA and HF energies from the fully converged values as a function of system size for wave functions are shown. The LDA energy converges smoothly with system size but for small system sizes the IPFSE error is large because of the -point sampling. HF energies calculated with the Ewald and MPC interactions, with and without incorporating the IPFSE corrections obtained from the LDA data are shown. The data incorporating the IPFSE (filled symbols) show the residual CFSE errors. The IPFSE is positive while the CFSE is negative, in accord with the analysis of the CFSE given in section 6.7. The IPFSE corrected data show that the CFSE for the MPC interaction is roughly half that for the Ewald interaction.
In figure 6.2 similar data for is shown. The LDA energy converges rapidly and smoothly with system size, and therefore the IPFSE is small, which demonstrates the efficacy of the ``special k-points'' method. The IPFSE and CFSE errors tend to cancel and for sampling the HF data converge more rapidly without the IPFSE corrections. For = 3, corresponding to a 54 atom simulation cell, the LDA finite size error (IPFSE only) is 0.011 eV per atom, which is very much smaller than the HF (Ewald) finite size error of -0.211 eV per atom or the equivalent HF (MPC) error of -0.071 eV per atom. As in the case of -point sampling, the CFSE for the MPC interaction is roughly half that for the Ewald interaction.
After applying the IPFSE correction obtained from the LDA data the HF results for and sampling are very similar. The correspondence of the IPFSE corrected data for the - and -points demonstrates that to a very good approximation the IPFSE and CFSE are independent. Estimating the energy of the infinite system by averaging the energy over a set of vectors removes the IPFSE but does not remove the CFSE.
The CFSE errors from the filled data points in figures 6.1 and 6.2 were fitted to the form , where and are parameters and is the number of electrons in the simulation cell. The fits give values of in the region of unity for both the Ewald and MPC interactions. This extrapolation function is therefore suitable for both interactions, although the size of the extrapolation term is smaller for the MPC interaction.
Single determinant wave functions of Slater-Jastrow form, as described in chapter 4, were optimised using both the Ewald and MPC interactions. 32 variable parameters were optimised, and the resultant wave functions obtained approximately of the fixed-node correlation energy. The same pseudopotential as for the LDA and HF calculations was used.
The wave functions optimised using the different interactions were almost identical. Properties other than the energy, such as pair correlation functions, are therefore hardly affected by the choice of interaction. As the MPC interaction gives the correct interaction between the electrons at short distances it may give a better account of, for example, the short distance behaviour of the pair correlation function, but this point was not investigated.
In figure 6.3 VMC results for energies of the same systems as in the previous section are shown.6.2 The total energies were calculated to a statistical accuracy of eV per atom. The VMC data display a smaller CFSE than the HF data, probably because the HF exchange hole is longer ranged than the screened hole obtained in the correlated calculations. For = 2, the MPC interaction reduces the VMC finite size error by more than 50%, from to eV per atom.
The MPC interaction is more complicated to apply in DMC than in VMC because the evaluation of the importance sampled Green's function requires the local energy. The modified Hamiltonian, and hence the local energy, depends on the charge density, and therefore the charge density must be known before the DMC calculation. Fortunately the ``exact'' DMC charge density is not required because the local energy is relatively insensitive to the charge density used in the Hamiltonian (equation 6.8) because is small when is small.
Two candidate charge densities are the charge density of the determinantal part of the QMC wave function and the charge density of the VMC guiding wave function. Even for a small system ( = 2), where the potential errors are largest, it was found to be sufficient to use the LDA charge density during the calculation of the Green's function and to re-evaluate the charge density dependent term in the interaction energy using the DMC density obtained at the end of the calculation. The insensitivity of the Green's function to the charge density used in the Hamiltonian was tested by running calculations with LDA, VMC and ``self-consistent'' DMC densities. The sensitivity rapidly reduces with increasing system size. Using an LDA density gives errors of less than 0.03 eV per atom for = 2, and less than 0.01 eV per atom for larger system sizes. Therefore, the requirement of having a good approximation to the charge density in advance of the DMC calculation does not pose a significant difficulty. A successful DMC calculation requires a good quality VMC trial function and its charge density can be obtained during the process of wave function optimization.
The DMC calculations were performed using the optimised wavefunctions of the previous section. A time step of 0.01 a.u. was used. Li et al.  found that using a time step of 0.015 a.u. gave a time-step error of less than 0.03 eV per atom in silicon, so that our time step error should be even smaller. Total energies were calculated to a statistical accuracy of eV per atom.
In figure 6.4 the results of DMC calculations are shown. The results include a correction for the IPFSE. The convergence behaviour is very similar to the VMC data. The MPC energies are always above those for the Ewald interaction and the MPC interaction significantly reduces the CFSE. These results demonstrate that the finite size errors within VMC and DMC calculations are very similar and that the MPC interaction is similarly effective in both methods, although a little more complex to apply in DMC.
The residual CFSE errors in both the VMC and DMC calculations are reasonably fit by a function to the form . The fit gives a value of close to unity for both the Ewald and MPC data. For these data it is possible to obtain more accurate approximations to by using such an extrapolation function, although the calculations for the large system sizes are costly, especially within DMC. The extrapolated energies should be more accurate for the MPC interaction because the extrapolation term is significantly smaller. The quality of the fit and hence extrapolation cannot be accurately determined due to the limited number of data points and statistical errors present in the data.
Many interesting applications of VMC and DMC methods will be to problems in which the quantity of physical interest is the difference in energy between two large systems. Examples of such problems are calculations of excitation energies and defect energies in solids. In such cases the energy of interest is approximately independent of the size of the simulation cell, so that for each simulation cell size it is the energy of the whole simulation cell which must be converged to the required tolerance, not the energy per atom as we plotted in figures 6.3 and 6.4. In these cases extrapolation will be so costly that it can hardly be contemplated. In some cases the CFSE will largely cancel between the two systems, as occurs in excitation energy calculations (see next section). This cancellation cannot always be relied upon, particularly when the simulation cells contain different numbers of particles or different supercell geometries. The use of the MPC interaction should be particularly beneficial in such cases.