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    Extending the Scope of Conceptual Density Functional Theory with Second Order Analytical Methodologies

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    In the context of the growing impact of conceptual density functional theory (DFT) as one of the most successful chemical reactivity theories, response functions up to second order have now been widely applied; in recent years, among others, particular attention has been focused on the linear response function and also extensions to higher order have been put forward. As the larger part of these studies have been carried using a finite difference approach to compute these concepts, we now embarked on (an extension of) an analytical approach to conceptual DFT. With the ultimate aim of providing a complete set of analytically computable second order properties, including the softness and hardness kernels, the hardness as the simplest second order response function is scrutinized again with numerical results highlighting the difference in nature between the analytical hardness (referred to as hardness condition) and the Parr-Pearson absolute chemical hardness. The hardness condition is investigated for its capability to gauge the (de)localization error of density functional approximations (DFAs). The analytical Fukui function, besides overcoming the difficulties in the finite difference approach in treating negatively charged systems, also showcases the errors of deviating from the straight-line behavior using fractional occupation number calculations. Subsequently, the softness kernel and its atom-condensed inverse, the hardness matrix, are accessed through the Berkowitz-Parr relation. Revisiting the softness kernel confirms and extends previous discussions on how Kohn’s Nearsightedness of Electronic Matter principle can be retrieved and identified as the physicist’s version of the chemist’s “transferability of functional groups” concept. The accurate, analytical hardness matrix evaluation on the other hand provides further support for the basics of Nalewajski’s charge sensitivity analysis. Based on Parr and Liu’s functional expansion of the energy functional, a new energy decomposition is introduced with an order of magnitude analysis of the different terms for a series of simple molecules both at their equilibrium geometry and upon variation in bond length and dihedral angle. Finally, for the first time, the perturbation expansion of the energy functional is studied numerically up to second order now that all response functions and integration techniques are at hand. The perturbation expansion energies are in excellent agreement with those obtained directly from DFA calculations giving confidence in the convergence of the perturbation series and its use in judging the importance of the different terms in reactivity investigations