DFTB+, a software package for efficient approximate density functional theory based atomistic simulations

Hourahine, B. and Aradi, B. and Blum, V. and Bonafé, F. and Buccheri, A. and Camacho, C. and Cevallos, C. and Deshaye, M.Y. and Dumitrică, T. and Dominguez, A. and Ehlert, S. and Elstner, M. and van der Heide, T. and Hermann, J. and Irle, S. and Kranz, J. J. and Köhler, C. and Kowalczyk, T. and Kubař, T. and Lee, I. S. and Lutsker, V. and Maurer, R. J. and Min, S. K. and Mitchell, I. and Negre, C. and Niehaus, T. A. and Niklasson, A. M. N. and Page, A. J. and Pecchia, A. and Penazzi, G. and Persson, M. P. and Řezáč, J. and Sánchez, C. G. and Sternberg, M. and Stöhr, M. and Stuckenberg, F. and Tkatchenko, A. and Yu, V. W.-z and Frauenheim, T. (2020) DFTB+, a software package for efficient approximate density functional theory based atomistic simulations. Journal of Chemical Physics, 152 (12). 124101. ISSN 0021-9606 (https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5143190)

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DFTB+ is a versatile community developed open source software package offering fast and efficient methods for carrying out atomistic quantum mechanical simulations. By implementing various methods approximating density functional theory (DFT), such as the density functional based tight binding (DFTB) and the extended tight binding method, it enables simulations of large systems and long timescales with reasonable accuracy while being considerably faster for typical simulations than the respective ab initio methods. Based on the DFTB framework, it additionally offers approximated versions of various DFT extensions including hybrid functionals, time dependent formalism for treating excited systems, electron transport using non-equilibrium Green's functions, and many more. DFTB+ can be used as a user-friendly standalone application in addition to being embedded into other software packages as a library or acting as a calculation-server accessed by socket communication. We give an overview of the recently developed capabilities of the DFTB+ code, demonstrating with a few use case examples, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the various features, and also discuss on-going developments and possible future perspectives.