Adsorption, a fundamental process in heterogeneous catalysis is known to be dependent on the adsorbate-adsorbate and surface-adsorbate bonds. van der Waals (vdW) interactions are one of the types of interactions that have not been examined thoroughly as a function of adsorbate coverage. In this work we quantify the vdW interactions for atomic adsorbates on late transition metal surfaces, and determine how these long range forces affect the coverage dependent adsorption energies. We calculate the adsorption energies of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, fluorine, bromine and chlorine species on Pt(111) and Pd(111) at coverages ranging from 1/4 to 1 ML using the BEEF-vdW functional. We observe that adsorption energies remain coverage dependent, and this coverage dependence is shown to be statistically significant. vdW interactions are found to be coverage dependent, but more significantly, they are found to be dependent on molecular properties such as adsorbate size, and consequently, correlate with the adsorbate effective nuclear charge. We observe that these interactions account for a reduction in the binding energy of the system, due to the destabilizing attractive interactions between the adsorbates which weaken its bond with the surface.
Thirumalai, H., & Kitchin, J. R. (2016). The role of vdW interactions in coverage dependent adsorption energies of atomic adsorbates on Pt(111) and Pd(111). Surface Science, 650, 196–202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.susc.2015.10.001