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Binding and diffusion of lithium in graphite: quantum Monte Carlo benchmarks and validation of van der Waals density functional methods

P. Ganesh, J. Kim, C. Park, M. Yoon, F. A. Reboredo, and P. R. C. Kent

Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 10 5318 (2014)

Highly accurate diffusion quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) studies of the adsorption and diffusion of atomic lithium in AA-stacked graphite are compared with van der Waals-including density functional theory (DFT) calculations. Predicted QMC lattice constants for pure AA graphite agree with experiment. Pure AA-stacked graphite is shown to challenge many van der Waals methods even when they are accurate for conventional AB graphite. Highest overall DFT accuracy, considering pure AA-stacked graphite as well as lithium binding and diffusion, is obtained by the self-consistent van der Waals functional vdW-DF2, although errors in binding energies remain. Empirical approaches based on point charges such as DFT-D are inaccurate unless the local charge transfer is assessed. The results demonstrate that the lithiumcarbon system requires a simultaneous highly accurate description of both charge transfer and van der Waals interactions, favoring self-consistent approaches.

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