Abstract:
Ubiquitous Van der Waals interactions between atoms and molecules are important for many molecular and solid structures. These systems are often studied from first principles using the Density Functional Theory (DFT). However, the commonly used DFT functionals fail to capture the essence of Van der Waals effects. Many attempts to correct for this problem have been proposed, which are not completely satisfactory because they are either very complex and computationally expensive or have a basic semiempirical character. We here describe a novel approach, based on the use of the Maximally-Localized Wannier functions, that appears to be promising, being simple, efficient, accurate, and transferable (charge polarization effects are naturally included). The results of test applications are presented.

Abstract:
A new implementation is proposed for including van der Waals interactions in Density Functional Theory using the Maximally-Localized Wannier functions. With respect to the previous DFT/vdW-WF method, the present DFT/vdW-WF2 approach, which is based on the simpler London expression and takes into account the intrafragment overlap of the localized Wannier functions, leads to a considerable improvement in the evaluation of the $C_6$ van der Waals coefficients, as shown by the application to a set of selected dimers. Preliminary results on Ar on graphite and Ne on the Cu(111) metal surface suggest that also the $C_3$ coefficients, characterizing molecule-surfaces van der Waals interactions are better estimated with the new scheme.

Abstract:
The DFT/vdW-QHO-WF method, recently developed to include the van der Waals (vdW) interactions in approximated Density Functional Theory (DFT) by combining the Quantum Harmonic Oscillator model with the Maximally Localized Wannier Function technique, is applied to the cases of atoms and small molecules (X=Ar, CO, H$_2$, H$_2$O) weakly interacting with benzene and with the ideal planar graphene surface. Comparison is also presented with the results obtained by other DFT vdW-corrected schemes, including PBE+D, vdW-DF, vdW-DF2, rVV10, and by the simpler Local Density Approximation (LDA) and semilocal Generalized Gradient Approximation (GGA) approaches. While for the X-benzene systems all the considered vdW-corrected schemes perform reasonably well, it turns out that an accurate description of the X-graphene interaction requires a proper treatment of many-body contributions and of short-range screening effects, as demonstrated by adopting an improved version of the DFT/vdW-QHO-WF method. We also comment on the widespread attitude of relying on LDA to get a rough description of weakly interacting systems.

Abstract:
The method recently developed to include Van der Waals interactions in the Density Functional Theory by using the Maximally-Localized Wannier functions, is improved and extended to the case of atoms and fragments weakly bonded (physisorbed) to metal and semimetal surfaces, thus opening the way to realistic simulations of surface-physics processes, where Van der Waals interactions play a key role. Successful applications to the case of Ar on graphite and on the Al(100) surface, and of the H2 molecule on Al(100) are presented.

Abstract:
We compare the density functional theory (DFT) results on the adsorption of small aromatic molecules (benzene, pyridine and thiophene) on gold surfaces obtained by using three types of van der Waals exchange-correlation functionals and localized basis set calculations. We show that the value of the molecule surface binding energy depends on the interplay between the BSSE effect and the tendency of the exchange-correlation functionals to overestimate both the molecule-surface as well as the gold-gold distances within the relaxed systems. Consequently, we find that by using different types of LCAO basis sets or geometric models for the adsorption of the molecules on the surface, the binding energy can vary up to 100 %. A critical analysis of the physical parameters resulting from the calculations is presented for each exchange-correlation functional.

Abstract:
We study the mutual interactions of simple, parallel polymers and nanotubes, and develop a scheme to include the van der Waals interactions in the framework of density functional theory (DFT) for these molecules at intermediate to long-range separations. We primarily focus on the polymers polyethylene, isotactic polypropylene, and isotactic polyvinylchloride, but our approach applies more generally to all simple polymers and nanotubes. From first-principle DFT calculations we extract the electron density of the polymers and their static electric response. We derive explicit expressions for the van der Waals interaction energy under simple symmetry assumptions.

Abstract:
For sparse materials like graphitic systems and carbon nanotubes the standard density functional theory (DFT) faces significant problems because it cannot accurately describe the van der Waals interactions that are essential to the carbon-nanostructure materials behavior. While standard implementations of DFT can describe the strong chemical binding within an isolated, single-walled carbon nanotube, a new and extended DFT implementation is needed to describe the binding between nanotubes. We here provide the first steps to such an extension for parallel and concentric nanotubes through an electron-density based description of the materials coupling to the electrodynamical field. We thus find a consistent description of the (fully screened) van der Waals interactions that bind the nanotubes across the low-electron-density voids between the nanotubes, in bundles and as multiwalled tubes.

Abstract:
The corrosion of materials is an undesirable and costly process affecting many areas of technology and everyday life. As such, considerable effort has gone into understanding and preventing it. Organic molecule based coatings can in certain circumstances act as effective corrosion inhibitors. Although they have been used to great effect for more than sixty years, how they function at the atomic-level is still a matter of debate. In this work, computer simulation approaches based on density functional theory are used to investigate benzotriazole (BTAH), one of the most widely used and studied corrosion inhibitors for copper. In particular, the structures formed by protonated and deprotonated BTAH molecules on Cu(111) have been determined and linked to their inhibiting properties. It is found that hydrogen bonding, van der Waals interactions and steric repulsions all contribute in shaping how BTAH molecules adsorb, with flat-lying structures preferred at low coverage and upright configurations preferred at high coverage. The interaction of the dehydrogenated benzotriazole molecule (BTA) with the copper surface is instead dominated by strong chemisorption via the azole moiety with the aid of copper adatoms. Structures of dimers or chains are found to be the most stable structures at all coverages, in good agreement with scanning tunnelling microscopy results. Benzotriazole thus shows a complex phase behaviour in which van der Waals forces play an important role and which depends on coverage and on its protonation state and all of these factors feasibly contribute to its effectiveness as a corrosion inhibitor.

Abstract:
Although density functional theory (DFT) in principle includes even long-range interactions, standard implementations employ local or semi-local approximations of the interaction energy and fail at describing the van der Waals interactions. We show how to modify a recent density functional that includes van der Waals interactions in planar systems [Phys. Rev. Lett. 91, 126402 (2003)] to also give an approximate interaction description of planar molecules. As a test case we use this modified functional to calculate the binding distance and energy for benzene dimers, with the perspective of treating also larger, flat molecules, such as the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).

Abstract:
Second order Moeller-Plesset perturbation theory (MP2) at the complete basis set (CBS) limit and diffusion quantum Monte Carlo (DMC) are used to examine several low energy isomers of the water hexamer. Both approaches predict the so-called "prism" to be the lowest energy isomer, followed by "cage", "book", and "cyclic" isomers. The energies of the four isomers are very similar, all being within 10-15 meV/H2O. This reference data is then used to evaluate the performance of several density-functional theory (DFT) exchange-correlation (xc) functionals. A subset of the xc functionals tested for smaller water clusters [I: Santra et al., J. Chem. Phys. 127, 184104 (2007)] has been considered. Whilst certain functionals do a reasonable job at predicting the absolute dissociation energies of the various isomers (coming within 10-20 meV/H2O), none predict the correct energetic ordering of the four isomers, nor does any predict the correct low total energy isomer. All xc functionals tested either predict the book or cyclic isomers to have the largest dissociation energies. A many-body decomposition of the total interaction energies within the hexamers leads to the conclusion that the failure lies in the poor description of van der Waals (dispersion) forces in the xc functionals considered. It is shown that the addition of an empirical pairwise (attractive) C6/R6 correction to certain functionals allows for an improved energetic ordering of the hexamers. The relevance of these results to density-functional simulations of liquid water is also briefly discussed.