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Title: Origin of the size-dependence of the equilibrium van der Waals binding between nanostructures

Nanostructures can be bound together at equilibrium by the van der Waals (vdW) effect, a small but ubiquitous many-body attraction that presents challenges to density functional theory. How does the binding energy depend upon the size or number of atoms in one of a pair of identical nanostructures? To answer this question, we treat each nanostructure properly as a whole object, not as a collection of atoms. Our calculations start from an accurate static dipole polarizability for each considered nanostructure, and an accurate equilibrium center-to-center distance for the pair (the latter from experiment, or from the vdW-DF-cx functional). We consider the competition in each term $$-C_{2k}/d^{2k}$$ ($k=3, 4, 5$) of the long-range vdW series for the interaction energy, between the size dependence of the vdW coefficient $$C_{2k}$$ and that of the $2k$-th power of the center-to-center distance $d$. The damping of these vdW terms can be negligible, but in any case it does not affect the size dependence for a given term in the absence of non-vdW binding. To our surprise, the vdW energy can be size-independent for quasi-spherical nanoclusters bound to one another by vdW interaction, even with strong nonadditivity of the vdW coefficient, as demonstrated for fullerenes. We also show that, for low-dimensional systems, the vdW interaction yields the strongest size-dependence, in stark contrast to that of fullerenes. We illustrate this with parallel planar polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Other cases are between, as shown by sodium clusters.
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  1. Temple Univ., Philadelphia, PA (United States). Dept. of Physics
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Chemical Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 148; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 0021-9606
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Temple Univ., Philadelphia, PA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS; van der Waals interaction; DFT
OSTI Identifier: