Interaction between water and carbon nanostructures: How good are current density functional approximations?

Due to their current and future technological applications, including realisation of water filters and desalination membranes, water adsorption on graphitic sp2-bonded carbon is of overwhelming interest. However, these systems are notoriously challenging to model, even for electronic structure methods such as density functional theory (DFT), because of the crucial role played by London dispersion forces and non-covalent interactions in general. Recent efforts have established reference quality interactions of several carbon nanostructures interacting with water. Here, we compile a new benchmark set (dubbed WaC18), which includes a single water molecule interacting with a broad range of carbon structures, and various bulk (3D) and two dimensional (2D) ice polymorphs. The performance of 28 approaches, including semi-local exchange-correlation functionals, non-local (Fock) exchange contributions, and long-range van der Waals (vdW) treatments, are tested by computing the deviations from the reference interaction energies. The calculated mean absolute deviations on the WaC18 set depends crucially on the DFT approach, ranging from 135 meV for LDA to 12 meV for PBE0-D4. We find that modern vdW corrections to DFT significantly improve over their precursors. Within the 28 tested approaches, we identify the best performing within the functional classes of: generalized gradient approximated (GGA), meta-GGA, vdW-DF, and hybrid DF, which are BLYP-D4, TPSS-D4, rev-vdW-DF2, and PBE0-D4, respectively.

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Fabian wins Best Poster prize at the MMM Hub conference!

The second annual Materials & Molecular Modelling (MMM) Hub Conference and User Meeting took place on 3-4 September. Many excellent talks demonstrated how the computational resources provided by the MMM Hub are used to tackle challenges in many areas of biological, chemical, and physical research. This was also illustrated by more than 50 posters, spanning […]


Science and sports in York

Last weekend, the ICE group gathered in York for the International Materials Simulation Workshop. Current and former members as well as collaborators talked about their recent projects and discussed how to tackle society’s big challenges, utilize advancements in methodology and make the most of fruitful collaborations. The meeting highlighted the diverse range of problems that […]


Triple Triathlon at Castle Howard in support of WaterAid

The ICE group will be participating in the Castle Triathlon series for the third year in a row. This time, three relays teams are going to compete at Castle Howard, near York, on 21 July. They will be swimming, cycling and running a combined distance of roughly 280 km! As part of the tradition, the […]


Open postdoc position (University of Manchester & ICE group)

A 2-year postdoc position is available in the Condensed Matter Physics group at the University of Manchester. The project will be carried out in collaboration with the ICE group and involves developing and applying theoretical models to understand the anomalous dielectric behaviour of water under confinement (Fumagalli et al. Science 360, 1339-1342, 2018). You can […]


Angelos sets world record at the London Marathon!

Angelos set a new world record for the “fastest marathon dressed as a scientist (male)” at this year’s London Marathon, finishing in 3:22:51. Congratulations! He also managed to raise more than £3000 in support of WaterAid, an international charity working to provide clean water and decent toilets to people all over the world. Many thanks […]


Welcome Julia!

The ICE group has a new member: Julia will be working on C-H activation at single-atom alloy catalysts. The project involves collaboration with Michail Stamatakis from UCL’s Department of Chemical Engineering. We hope you will have a pleasant and productive time in the ICE group!


Nature Reviews Chemistry on surface premelting of water ice published!

In a recently published Nature Reviews Chemistry article, titled “Surface premelting of water ice”, Ben Slater and Angelos review the current understanding of the quasi-liquid layer (QLL) that forms on the surface of ice. The review describes how advances in experimental and computational techniques furthered our understanding in the years since Faraday first postulated the […]


Angelos is trying to set a new world record!

Angelos will be running this year’s London Marathon with the aim of setting a new world record for the “fastest marathon dressed as a scientist (male)”. He is running in support of WaterAid, an international charity working to provide clean water and decent toilets to people all over the world. To find out more and […]


Patrick wins Best Poster prize at the TYC Student Day!

For his contribution “A Machine Learning Potential for Carbon”, Patrick was awarded a Best Poster prize at this year’s TYC Student Day! He was one of the four winners chosen from more than 30 poster presentations, which highlighted the excellent research conducted within the Thomas Young Centre. Patrick had also won the Best Poster prize […]


INCITE grant awarded for quantum Monte Carlo project!

The proposal titled “New Frontiers for Material Modeling via Machine Learning Techniques with Quantum Monte Carlo” was awarded a 2019 Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) grant by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The project lead by Dario Alfè and in collaboration with Gábor Csányi in Cambridge involves […]


Group gatherings