Comparing van der Waals DFT methods for water on NaCl(001) and MgO(001)

Authors: Getachew G. Kebede, Daniel Spångberg, Pavlin D. Mitev, Peter Broqvist, and   Kersti Hermansson

In this work, a range of van der Waals type density functionals are applied to the H2O/NaCl(001) and H2O/MgO(001) interface systems to explore the effect of an explicit dispersion treatment. The functionals we use are the self-consistent vdW functionals vdW-DF, vdW-DF2, optPBE-vdW, optB88-vdW, optB86b-vdW, and vdW-DF-cx, as well as the dispersion-corrected PBE-TS and PBE-D2 methods; they are all compared with the standard PBE functional. For both NaCl(001) and MgO(001), we find that the dispersion-flavoured functionals stabilize the water-surface interface by approximately 20%-40% compared to the PBE results. For NaCl(001), where the water molecules remain intact for all overlayers, the dominant contribution to the adsorption energy from “density functional theory dispersion” stems from the water-surface interactions rather than the water-water interactions. The optPBE-vdW and vdW-DF-cx functionals yield adsorption energies in good agreement with available experimental values for both NaCl and MgO. To probe the strengths of the perturbations of the adsorbed water molecules, we also calculated water dipole moments and found an increase up to 85% for water at the MgO(001) surface and 70% at the NaCl(001) surface, compared to the gas-phase dipole moment.

The Journal of Chemical Physics 146, 064703 (2017);

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