Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Andrew E. DePristo


In the research presented here, various theoretical electronic structure techniques are utilized to analyze widely different systems from silicon clusters to transition metal solids and surfaces. For the silicon clusters, first principles density functional methods are used to investigate Si[subscript] N for N = 2-8. The goal is to understand the different types of bonding that can occur in such small clusters where the coordination of the atoms differs substantially from that of the stable bulk tetrahedral bonding. Such uncoordinated structures can provide a good test of more approximate theories that can be used eventually to model silicon surfaces, of obvious technological importance;For the transition metal systems, non-self-consistent electronic structure methods are used to provide an understanding of the driving force for surface relaxations. An in-depth analysis of the results is presented and the physical basis of surface relaxation within the theory is discussed. In addition, the limitations inherent in calculations of metal surface relaxation are addressed;Finally, in an effort to increase understanding of approximate methods, a novel non-self-consistent density functional electronic structure method is developed that is ≈1000 times faster computationally than more sophisticated methods. This new method is tested for a variety of systems including diatomics, mixed clusters, surfaces and bulk lattices. The strengths and weaknesses of the new theory are discussed in detail, leading to greater understanding of non-self-consistent density functional theories as a whole.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Susan Buthaina Sinnott



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

176 pages