Comparison of performance of van der Waals-corrected exchange-correlation functionals for interlayer interaction in graphene and hexagonal boron nitride


Exchange-correlation functionals with corrections for van der Waals interactions (PBE-D2, PBE-D3, PBE-D3(BJ), PBE-TS, optPBE-vdW and vdW-DF2) are tested for graphene and hexagonal boron nitride, both in the form of bulk and bilayer. The characteristics of the potential energy surface, such as the barrier to relative sliding of the layers and magnitude of corrugation, and physically measurable properties associated with relative in-plane and out-of-plane motion of the layers including the shear modulus and modulus for axial compression, shear mode frequency and frequency of out-of-plane vibrations are considered. The PBE-D3(BJ) functional gives the best results for the stackings of hexagonal boron nitride and graphite that are known to be ground-state from the experimental studies. However, it fails to describe the order of metastable states of boron nitride in energy. The PBE-D3 and vdW-DF2 functionals, which reproduce this order correctly, are identified as the optimal choice for general studies. The vdW-DF2 functional is preferred for evaluation of the modulus for axial compression and frequency of out-of-plane vibrations, while the PBE-D3 functional is somewhat more accurate in calculations of the shear modulus and shear mode frequency. The best description of the latter properties, however, is achieved also using the vdW-DF2 functional combined with consideration of the experimental interlayer distance. In the specific case of graphene, the PBE-D2 functional works very well and can be further improved by adjustment of the parameters.Comment: 22 pages, 4 figue

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