Accurate molecular van der Waals interactions from ground-state electron density and free-atom reference data

Phys Rev Lett. 2009 Feb 20;102(7):073005. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.102.073005. Epub 2009 Feb 20.


We present a parameter-free method for an accurate determination of long-range van der Waals interactions from mean-field electronic structure calculations. Our method relies on the summation of interatomic C6 coefficients, derived from the electron density of a molecule or solid and accurate reference data for the free atoms. The mean absolute error in the C6 coefficients is 5.5% when compared to accurate experimental values for 1225 intermolecular pairs, irrespective of the employed exchange-correlation functional. We show that the effective atomic C6 coefficients depend strongly on the bonding environment of an atom in a molecule. Finally, we analyze the van der Waals radii and the damping function in the C6R(-6) correction method for density-functional theory calculations.