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Extracting Inelastic Scattering Cross Sections for Finite and Aperiodic Materials from Electronic Dynamics Simulations

by David B Lingerfelt, Anthony Yoshimura, Jacek Jakowski, Panchapakesan Ganesh, Bobby G Sumpter
Publication Type
Journal Name
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation
Publication Date

Explicit time-dependent electronic structure theory methods are increasingly prevalent in the areas of condensed matter physics and quantum chemistry, with the broad-band optical absorptivity of molecular and small condensed-phase systems nowadays routinely studied with such approaches. In this paper, it is demonstrated that electronic dynamics simulations can similarly be employed to study cross sections for the scattering-induced electronic excitations probed in nonresonant inelastic X-ray scattering and momentum-resolved electron energy loss spectroscopies. A method is put forth for evaluating the electronic dynamic structure factor, which involves the application of a momentum boost-type perturbation and transformation of the resulting reciprocal space density fluctuations into the frequency domain. Good agreement is first demonstrated between the dynamic structure factor extracted from these electronic dynamics simulations and the corresponding transition matrix elements from linear response theory. The method is then applied to some extended (quasi)one-dimensional systems, for which the wave vector becomes a good quantum number in the thermodynamic limit. Finally, the dispersion of many-body excitations in a series of hydrogen-terminated graphene flakes (and twisted bilayers thereof) is investigated to highlight the utility of the presented approach for capturing morphology-dependent effects in the inelastic scattering cross sections of nanostructured and/or noncrystalline materials.