Bound by long-range interactions: Molecular crystals and benzene on Cu(111)
Licentiatavhandling, 2009

This thesis investigates molecular systems bound by long-range interactions. We study molecular crystals held together by van der Waals forces and the physisorption of benzene (Bz) on Cu(111). We also study the self-organization of benzene on the Cu(111) surface which is influenced both by the (semi) long-range van der Waals forces, and the very-long-ranged indirect electronic interactions mediated by a metallic surface state on the Cu(111) surface. The van der Waals bound systems are investigated from first-principle principles using a van der Waals density functional (vdW-DF), [Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 246401 (2004)]. We examine the character of these interactions, by studying the asymptotic account of the van der Waals forces, and compare full vdW-DF with an asymptotic atom-based pair potentials extracted from vdW-DF. The results show that the charac- ter of the binding differs in the two cases, with vdW-DF being significantly enhanced at relevant binding separations. This suggests that the use of asymptotic atom-based pair potentials as an approximation for non-local correlation is not consistent. For molecular crystals, we study the structure and cohesive energy of hexamine and the platonic hydrocarbons cubane and dodecahedrane. The calculated lattice parame- ters and cohesion energy agree well with experiments. For adsorption of benzene on Cu(111), we obtain a binding energy in good agreement with experiment. We also study diffusion barriers and find that the molecules can move almost freely along a honeycomb web of “corridors” passing between fcc and hcp hollow sites via bridge sites. To account for the surface-state mediated interactions, we use a formal Harris-functional approach to evaluate nonperturbationally the asymptotic form of this in- direct interaction. This description is based on input from DFT calculations of the metallic surface state on Cu(111), in addition to a parameterization of the benzene- induced scattering properties. We combine vdW-DF calculations of benzene dimers and diffusion barriers with the estimates of the surface-state mediated interactions and find that the more compact (hexagonal) Bz-overlayer phase, with lattice constant ̊ a = 6.74 A, is due to direct Bz-Bz vdW attraction, and the stability of the sparser hexagonal Bz phase, a = 10.24 A, is due to surface-state mediated interactions. Thus, we can account well for benzene self-organization on Cu(111). These results illustrate the current state of development of quantum-physical based approaches to systems bound by long-range interactions.


diffusion barriers

sparse matter

platonic hydrocarbons

molecular crystals

van der Waals density functional (vdW-DF)

van der Waals forces

London-dispersion forces



molecular overlayers

electronic structure

Friedel oscillations

soft matter

surface-mediated interactions


Fasrummet, MC2
Opponent: Sture Nordholm


Kristian Berland

Chalmers, Mikroteknologi och nanovetenskap (MC2), Elektronikmaterial och system

Rings sliding on a honeycomb network: Adsorption contours, interactions, and assembly of benzene on Cu(111)

Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics,; Vol. 80(2009)p. 155431-

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift


Fysikalisk kemi

Annan fysik

Den kondenserade materiens fysik

Fasrummet, MC2

Opponent: Sture Nordholm