An efficient method of calculating the natural bond orbitals (NBOs) based on a truncation of the entire density matrix of a whole system is presented for large-scale density functional theory calculations. The method recovers an orbital picture for O(N) electronic structure methods which directly evaluate the density matrix without using Kohn-Sham orbitals, thus enabling quantitative analysis of chemical reactions in large-scale systems in the language of localized Lewis-type chemical bonds. With the density matrix calculated by either an exact diagonalization or O(N) method, the computational cost is O(1) for the calculation of NBOs associated with a local region where a chemical reaction takes place. As an illustration of the method, we demonstrate how an electronic structure in a local region of interest can be analyzed by NBOs in a large-scale first-principles molecular dynamics simulation for a liquid electrolyte bulk model (propylene carbonate + LiBF4).

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