We present an ab initio direct Ehrenfest dynamics scheme using a three time-step integrator. The three different time steps are implemented with nuclear velocity Verlet, nuclear-position-coupled midpoint Fock integrator, and time-dependent Hartree-Fock with a modified midpoint and unitary transformation algorithm. The computational cost of the ab initio direct Ehrenfest dynamics presented here is found to be only a factor of 2–4 larger than that of Born-Oppenheimer (BO) dynamics. As an example, we compute the vibration of the NaCl molecule and the intramolecular torsional motion of H2CNH2+ by Ehrenfest dynamics compared with BO dynamics. For the vibration of NaCl with an initial kinetic energy of 1.16 eV, Ehrenfest dynamics converges to BO dynamics with the same vibrational frequency. The intramolecular rotation of H2CNH2+ produces significant electronic excitation in the Ehrenfest trajectory. The amount of nonadiabaticity, suggested by the amplitude of the coherent progression of the excited and ground electronic states, is observed to be directly related to the strength of the electron-nuclear coupling. Such nonadiabaticity is seen to have a significant effect on the dynamics compared with the adiabatic approximation.

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