Resolution of the Band Gap Prediction Problem for Materials Design

Research paper by Jason M. Crowley, Jamil Tahir-Kheli, William A. Goddard

Indexed on: 19 Mar '16Published on: 04 Mar '16Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters


An important property with any new material is the band gap. Standard density functional theory methods grossly underestimate band gaps. This is known as the band gap problem. Here, we show that the hybrid B3PW91 density functional returns band gaps with a mean absolute deviation (MAD) from experiment of 0.22 eV over 64 insulators with gaps spanning a factor of 500 from 0.014 to 7 eV. The MAD is 0.28 eV over 70 compounds with gaps up to 14.2 eV, with a mean error of −0.03 eV. To benchmark the quality of the hybrid method, we compared the hybrid method to the rigorous GW many-body perturbation theory method. Surprisingly, the MAD for B3PW91 is about 1.5 times smaller than the MAD for GW. Furthermore, B3PW91 is 3–4 orders of magnitude faster computationally. Hence, B3PW91 is a practical tool for predicting band gaps of materials before they are synthesized and represents a solution to the band gap prediction problem.

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