Is it right to think that the Hartree procedure is called the SCF theory, as the notion of self-consistent field comes from approximating multi-electron wavefunction as multiple one-electron wavefunctions. Since we don't know the final charge density, we must iterate until it is self-consistent?

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    $\begingroup$ These are two different questions, and really should be divided. (It's site policy to only ask one question at a time, in a given Question.) Please re-ask your second paragraph in a new question. Check out the help center for more information on site policies. Thanks for asking here -- welcome to the site! $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py Mar 16 '18 at 0:07
  • $\begingroup$ HF and SCF are used interchangeably quite often (whether you agree with it or not). $\endgroup$ – LordStryker Mar 16 '18 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ To those who think this question is too broad: it has a concrete answer which is given below and it is definitely not too broad. It is a fundamental part of the theory that is not discussed in modern literature. $\endgroup$ – pentavalentcarbon Mar 16 '18 at 16:49
  • $\begingroup$ As an extension of HF and SCF being used interchangeably, I often see (and use myself) SCF to cover both HF and DFT, as the Kohn-Sham equations are solved using an SCF procedure that is identical to the one used for HF. $\endgroup$ – pentavalentcarbon Mar 16 '18 at 16:51


The Hartree-Fock method encompasses a set of assumptions used to formulate and solve a series of equations embodying a mean-field, time-independent Schrödinger equation.

The self-consistent field method is a computational technique used in myriad applications where the equations to be solved are implicit—that is, where it is impossible to isolate an analytically solvable expression for a variable and its derivatives. To the best of my knowledge, any solution method involving a "guess-and-check" approach can be considered a 'self-consistent solution method'.

The Hartree-Fock method is an example of a use-case for a self-consistent field procedure, but they are not synonymous.


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