Dispersion interactions in room-temperature ionic liquids: Results from a non-empirical density functional

Jorge Kohanoff, C. Pinilla, Tristan Youngs, E. Artacho, J.M. Soler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


The role of dispersion or van de Waals (VDW) interactions in imidazolium-based room-temperature ionic liquids is studied within the framework of density functional theory, using a recently developed non-empirical functional [M. Dion, H. Rydberg, E. Schroder, D. C. Langreth, and B. I. Lundqvist, Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 246401 (2004)], as efficiently implemented in the SIESTA code [G. Roman-Perez and J. M. Soler, Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 096102 (2009)]. We present results for the equilibrium structure and lattice parameters of several crystalline phases, finding a general improvement with respect to both the local density (LDA) and the generalized gradient approximations (GGA). Similar to other systems characterized by VDW bonding, such as rare gas and benzene dimers as well as solid argon, equilibrium distances and volumes are consistently overestimated by approximate to 7%, compared to -11% within LDA and 11% within GGA. The intramolecular geometries are retained, while the intermolecular distances and orientations are significantly improved relative to LDA and GGA. The quality is superior to that achieved with tailor-made empirical VDW corrections ad hoc [M. G. Del Popolo, C. Pinilla, and P. Ballone, J. Chem. Phys. 126, 144705 (2007)]. We also analyse the performance of an optimized version of this non-empirical functional, where the screening properties of the exchange have been tuned to reproduce high-level quantum chemical calculations [J. Klimes, D. Bowler, and A. Michaelides, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 22, 074203 (2010)]. The results for solids are even better with volumes and geometries reproduced within 2% of experimental data. We provide some insight into the issue of polymorphism of [bmim][Cl] crystals, and we present results for the geometry and energetics of [bmim][Tf] and [mmim][Cl] neutral and charged clusters, which validate the use of empirical force fields. (C) 2011 American Institute of Physics. [doi:10.1063/1.3652897]
Original languageEnglish
Article number154505
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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