, Volume 116, Issue 1-3, pp 241-252

Douglas–Kroll–Hess Theory: a relativistic electrons-only theory for chemistry

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Abstract

A unitary transformation allows to separate (block-diagonalize) the Dirac Hamiltonian into two parts one part: solely describes electrons, while the other gives rise to negative-energy states, which are the so-called positronic states. The block-diagonal form of the Hamiltonian no longer accounts for the coupling of both kinds of states. The positive-energy (‘electrons-only’) part can serve as a ‘fully’ relativistic electrons-only theory, which can be understood as a rigorous basis for chemistry. Recent developments of the Douglas–Kroll–Hess (DKH) method allowed to derive a sequence of expressions, which approximate this electrons-only Hamiltonian up to arbitrary-order. While all previous work focused on the numerical stability and accuracy of these arbitrary-order DKH Hamiltonians, conceptual issues and paradoxa of the method were mostly left aside. In this work, the conceptual side of DKH theory is revisited in order to identify essential aspects of the theory to be distinguished from purely computational consideration.