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J Chem Phys. 2007 Jul 7;127(1):014105.

Weak binding between two aromatic rings: feeling the van der Waals attraction by quantum Monte Carlo methods.

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International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA), 34014 Trieste, Italy.


We report a systematic study of the weak chemical bond between two benzene molecules. We first show that it is possible to obtain a very good description of the C(2) dimer and the benzene molecule by using pseudopotentials for the chemically inert 1s electrons and a resonating valence bond wave function as a variational ansatz, expanded on a relatively small Gaussian basis set. We employ an improved version of the stochastic reconfiguration technique to optimize the many-body wave function, which is the starting point for highly accurate simulations based on the lattice regularized diffusion Monte Carlo method. This projection technique provides a rigorous variational upper bound for the total energy, even in the presence of pseudopotentials, and substantially improves the accuracy of the trial wave function, which already yields a large fraction of the dynamical and nondynamical electron correlation. We show that the energy dispersion of two benzene molecules in the parallel displaced geometry is significantly deeper than the face-to-face configuration. However, contrary to previous studies based on post-Hartree-Fock methods, the binding energy remains weak ( approximately 2 kcal/mol) also in this geometry, and its value is in agreement with the most accurate and recent experimental findings [H. Krause et al., Chem. Phys. Lett. 184, 411 (1991)].


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