Benchmark adsorption and surface energies with RPA

This database contains the adsorption energies of 200 reactions involving 8 different adsorbates on 25 different transition metal surfaces at full coverage as well as the surface energies for the same surfaces. Various DFT functionals have been employed and compared to the results from many-body perturbation theory within the random phase approximation.

The adsorption reactions are

  1. \(\mathrm{H}_2\mathrm{O} + \mathrm{slab} \rightarrow \mathrm{OH/slab} + \frac{1}{2} \mathrm{H}_2\)
  2. \(\mathrm{CH}_4 + \mathrm{slab} \rightarrow \mathrm{CH/slab} + \frac{3}{2} \mathrm{H}_2\)
  3. \(\mathrm{NO} + \mathrm{slab} \rightarrow \mathrm{NO/slab}\)
  4. \(\mathrm{CO} + \mathrm{slab} \rightarrow \mathrm{CO/slab}\)
  5. \(\mathrm{N}_2 + \mathrm{slab} \rightarrow \mathrm{N_2/slab}\)
  6. \(\frac{1}{2}\mathrm{N}_2 + \mathrm{slab} \rightarrow \mathrm{N/slab}\)
  7. \(\frac{1}{2}\mathrm{O}_2 + \mathrm{slab} \rightarrow \mathrm{O/slab}\)
  8. \(\frac{1}{2}\mathrm{H}_2 + \mathrm{slab} \rightarrow \mathrm{H/slab}\)

and the surfaces include 3d transition metals from Scandium (Sc) to Zink (Zn), 4d from Yttrium (Y) to Cadmium (Cd) excluding Technetium (Tc) and 5d from Hafnium (Hf) to Gold (Au).

Per S. Schmidt and Kristian S. Thygesen

Benchmark Database of Transition Metal Surface and Adsorption Energies from Many-Body Perturbation Theory

The Journal of Physical Chemistry C Article ASAP

The data can be obtained from the files:

And browsed online:

The adsorption energy is defined with respect to the adsorbate in its gas phase: \(E_{\text{ads}} = E_{\text{adsorbate@slab}} - (E_{\text{slab}} + E_{\text{adsorbate(g)}})\)

And the surface energy as: \(E_{\text{surf}} = \frac12 \bigg( E_{\text{slab}} - N_{\text{layers}} E_{\text{bulk}}\bigg)\), where the number of atomic layers in the slab is \(N_{\text{layers}} = 3\).

One example reaction that the adsorption energy is calculated for is:

\(\mathrm{CH}_4\mathrm{(g)} + \mathrm{Sc} \rightarrow \mathrm{CH/Sc} + \frac32 \mathrm{H}_2\mathrm{(g)}\)

In the database the adsorbate is then \(\mathrm{CH}\), the surface material is \(\mathrm{Sc}\), reference molecule 1 is \(\mathrm{CH}_4\) and reference molecule 2 is \(\mathrm{H}_2\). The adsorption energy is then \(E_{\text{ads}} = E_{\mathrm{CH/Sc}} -(E_{\mathrm{Sc}} + E_{\mathrm{CH}_4\mathrm{(g)}} - \frac32 E_{\mathrm{H}_2\mathrm{(g)}})\).

Key-value pairs

Database of adsorption energies:

key description unit
BEEFvdW_ads BEEF-vdW adsorbate on slab eV
BEEFvdW_adsorp Adsorption energy with BEEF-vdW eV
BEEFvdW_mol BEEF-vdW 1st molecule eV
BEEFvdW_mol2 BEEF-vdW 2nd molecule eV
BEEFvdW_slab BEEF-vdW slab eV
EXX_ads EXX adsorbate on slab eV
EXX_adsorp Adsorption energy with EXX eV
EXX_mol EXX 1st molecule eV
EXX_mol2 EXX 2nd molecule eV
EXX_slab EXX slab eV
LDA_ads LDA adsorbate on slab eV
LDA_adsorp Adsorption energy with LDA eV
LDA_mol LDA 1st molecule eV
LDA_mol2 LDA 2nd molecule eV
LDA_slab LDA slab eV
PBE_ads PBE adsorbate on slab eV
PBE_adsorp Adsorption energy with PBE eV
PBE_mol PBE 1st molecule eV
PBE_mol2 PBE 2nd molecule eV
PBE_slab PBE slab eV
RPA_EXX_adsorp Adsorption energy with EXX+RPA eV
RPA_ads_ecut300_k12 RPA adsorbate on slab, Ecut=300, k=12x12x1 eV
RPA_ads_ecut300_k6 RPA adsorbate on slab, Ecut=300, k=6x6x1 eV
RPA_ads_ecut400_k6 RPA adsorbate on slab, Ecut=400, k=6x6x1 eV
RPA_ads_ecut500_k6 RPA adsorbate on slab, Ecut=500, k=6x6x1 eV
RPA_ads_extrap RPA adsorbate on slab extrapolated eV
RPA_adsorp RPA correlation adsorption energy extrapolated eV
RPA_mol2_ecut425 RPA 2nd molecule, Ecut=425 eV
RPA_mol2_ecut450 RPA 2nd molecule, Ecut=450 eV
RPA_mol2_ecut475 RPA 2nd molecule, Ecut=475 eV
RPA_mol2_ecut500 RPA 2nd molecule, Ecut=500 eV
RPA_mol2_ecut530 RPA 2nd molecule, Ecut=530 eV
RPA_mol2_ecut560 RPA 2nd molecule, Ecut=560 eV
RPA_mol2_ecut600 RPA 2nd molecule, Ecut=600 eV
RPA_mol2_extrap RPA 2nd molecule extrapolated eV
RPA_mol_ecut425 RPA 1st molecule, Ecut=425 eV
RPA_mol_ecut450 RPA 1st molecule, Ecut=450 eV
RPA_mol_ecut475 RPA 1st molecule, Ecut=475 eV
RPA_mol_ecut500 RPA 1st molecule, Ecut=500 eV
RPA_mol_ecut530 RPA 1st molecule, Ecut=530 eV
RPA_mol_ecut560 RPA 1st molecule, Ecut=560 eV
RPA_mol_ecut600 RPA 1st molecule, Ecut=600 eV
RPA_mol_extrap RPA 1st molecule extrapolated eV
RPA_slab_ecut300_k12 RPA slab, Ecut=300, k=12x12x1 eV
RPA_slab_ecut300_k6 RPA slab, Ecut=300, k=6x6x1 eV
RPA_slab_ecut400_k6 RPA slab, Ecut=400, k=6x6x1 eV
RPA_slab_ecut500_k6 RPA slab, Ecut=500, k=6x6x1 eV
RPA_slab_extrap RPA slab extrapolated eV
RPBE_ads RPBE adsorbate on slab eV
RPBE_adsorp Adsorption energy with RPBE eV
RPBE_mol RPBE 1st molecule eV
RPBE_mol2 RPBE 2nd molecule eV
RPBE_slab RPBE slab eV
adsorbate Adsorbate  
mBEEF_ads mBEEF adsorbate on slab eV
mBEEF_adsorp Adsorption energy with mBEEF eV
mBEEF_mol mBEEF 1st molecule eV
mBEEF_mol2 mBEEF 2nd molecule eV
mBEEF_slab mBEEF slab eV
mBEEFvdW_ads mBEEF-vdW adsorbate on slab eV
mBEEFvdW_adsorp Adsorption energy with mBEEF-vdW eV
mBEEFvdW_mol mBEEF-vdW 1st molecule eV
mBEEFvdW_mol2 mBEEF-vdW 2nd molecule eV
mBEEFvdW_slab mBEEF-vdW slab eV
mol Reference molecule 1  
mol2 Reference molecule 2  
surf_mat Surface Material  
vdWDF2_ads vdW-DF2 adsorbate on slab eV
vdWDF2_adsorp Adsorption energy with vdW-DF2 eV
vdWDF2_mol vdW-DF2 1st molecule eV
vdWDF2_mol2 vdW-DF2 2nd molecule eV
vdWDF2_slab vdW-DF2 slab eV

Similar for the surface energies.

Reading data

In the following script it is shown how to extract and plot adsorption and surface energies from the database files (adsorption.db, surfaces.db):

# creates: database_example.svg
import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
import ase.db

adsorbate = 'NO'
slabs = ['Sc', 'Ti', 'Cu', 'Pd']
db = ase.db.connect('adsorption.db')
db_surf = ase.db.connect('surfaces.db')

labels = ['LDA', 'PBE', 'RPBE', 'BEEF-vdW', 'RPA']
markers = ['o', 's', 'v', 'D', 'x']
markersize = [10, 10, 10, 10, 12]
mews = [1, 1, 1, 1, 4]
cols = ['r', 'k', 'b', 'g']

for ii, slab in enumerate(slabs):
    rows =
    adss = []
    for row in rows:
        if row.symbols[0] == slab:

    rows_surf =
    surfs = []
    for row in rows_surf:

    for i in range(len(adss)):
        if ii == 0:
            plt.plot(surfs[i], adss[i], 'o', color='darkgray',
                     marker=markers[i], markersize=markersize[i],
                     mew=mews[i], label=labels[i])

        plt.plot(surfs[i], adss[i], 'o', color=cols[ii],
                 marker=markers[i], markersize=markersize[i], mew=mews[i])

    p = np.polyfit(surfs[:-1],

    plt.plot([surfs[2], surfs[0]], p[0] * np.array([surfs[2], surfs[0]]) +
             p[1], 'g--', color=cols[ii])
    plt.annotate(slabs[ii], (surfs[-1] + 0.02, adss[-1]), color=cols[ii],

plt.legend(loc='lower left', numpoints=1, prop={'size': 14})
plt.title('NO adsorption', size=18)

plt.ylim([-3.5, 0])
plt.xlim([0.3, 1.1])

plt.xlabel('$E_{\sigma}$ (eV)', size=22)
plt.ylabel('$E_{\mathrm{ads}}$ (eV)', size=22)

plt.savefig('database_example.svg', dpi=500)

Which should generate the following figure showing the adsorption versus surface energy for NO adsorption on four different transition metals:


Computational details

The surfaces were modeled using three layers with the bottom two layers fixed at the fcc PBE lattice constants from and the position of the top layer relaxed. The position of the adsorbate was relaxed keeping all three surface layers fixed at the position found previously. All relaxations were carried out with the BFGS algorithm using the PBE approximation to the xc-functional with a force convergence criteria of 0.05 eV/Å. The electron temperature was 0.01 eV and spin-polarized calculations were performed for calculations involving Fe, Ni or Co. 5 Å of vacuum was added to either side of the adsorbate to avoid artificial interactions between neighboring layers following convergence tests at both the DFT and RPA level. The adsorption energies are relative to the molecule in its gas phase and the calculations for the isolated molecules were carried out in a \(6\times6\times6\) Å \(^3\) box fully relaxing the geometry with the PBE functional.

The RPA calculations were carefully converged with respect to plane wave basis using the following extrapolation scheme: In the following figure, the black dots are from a calculation with \(6\times6\times1\) k-points (not enough to achieve convergence) but high cutoff energies (300, 400, 500 eV). The green circle is a calculation at a much denser k-point sampling of \(12\times12\times1\) (converged). From these four circles, the two green crosses are predicted which allow for an extrapolation to infinite cutoff energy. The red dots represent actual calculations with both a dense k-point grid and high cutoff energies to test the extrapolation scheme. The error introduced by the extrapolation scheme for this particular system is seen to be 0.013 eV. The k-point grid of \(12\times12\times1\) ensures that the exchange + correlation energy is converged to within 0.02 eV with respect to the k-point density.