Zhang, Y; Yang, W, *A challenge for density functionals: Self-interaction error increases for systems with a noninteger number of electrons*,
Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 109 no. 7
(1998),
pp. 2604-2608 [doi] .
**Abstract:**

*The difficulty of widely used density functionals in describing the dissociation behavior of some homonuclear and heteronuclear diatomic radicals is analyzed. It is shown that the self-interaction error of these functionals accounts for the problem - it is much larger for a system with a noninteger number of electrons than a system with an integer number of electrons. We find the condition for the erroneous dissociation behavior described by approximate density functionals: when the ionization energy of one dissociation partner differs from the electron affinity of the other partner by a small amount, the self-interaction error will lead to wrong dissociation limit. Systems with a noninteger number of electrons and hence the large amount of self-interaction error in approximate density functionals arise also in the transition states of some chemical reactions and in some charge-transfer complexes. In the course of analysis, we derive a scaling relation necessary for an exchange-correlation functional to be self-interaction free. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.*