Reactivity indicators for degenerate states in the density-functional theoretic chemical reactivity theory
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Density-functional-theory-based chemical reactivity indicators are formulated for degenerate and near-degenerate ground states. For degenerate states, the functional derivatives of the energy with respect to the external potential do not exist, and must be replaced by the weaker concept of functional variation. The resultant reactivity indicators depend on the specific perturbation. Because it is sometimes impractical to compute reactivity indicators for a specific perturbation, we consider two special cases: point-charge perturbations and Dirac delta function perturbations. The Dirac delta function perturbations provide upper bounds on the chemical reactivity. Reactivity indicators using the common used "average of degenerate states approximation" for degenerate states provide a lower bound on the chemical reactivity. Unfortunately, this lower bound is often extremely weak. Approximate formulas for the reactivity indicators within the frontier-molecular-orbital approximation and special cases (two or three degenerate spatial orbitals) are presented in the supplementary material. One remarkable feature that arises in the frontier molecular orbital approximation, and presumably also in the exact theory, is that removing electrons sometimes causes the electron density to increase at the location of a negative (attractive) Dirac delta function perturbation. That is, the energetic response to a reduction in the external potential can increase even when the number of electrons decreases.