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Continuum solvation models are becoming increasingly relevant in condensed matter simulations, allowing to characterize materials interfaces in the presence of wet electrified environments at a reduced computational cost with respect to all atomistic simulations. However, some challenges with the implementation of these models in plane-wave simulation packages still persists, especially when the goal is to simulate complex and heterogeneous environments. Among these challenges is the computational cost associated with large heterogeneous environments, which in plane-wave simulations has a direct effect on the basis-set size and, as a result, on the cost of the electronic structure calculation. Moreover, the use of periodic simulation cells is not well-suited for modeling systems embedded in semi-infinite media, which is often the case in continuum solvation models. To address these challenges, we present the implementation of a double-cell formalism, in which the simulation cell used for the continuum environment is uncoupled from the one used for the electronic-structure simulation of the quantum-mechanical system. This allows for a larger simulation cell to be used for the environment, without significantly increasing computational time. In this work, we show how the double-cell formalism can be used as an effective periodic boundary conditions correction scheme for nonperiodic and partially periodic systems. The accuracy of the double-cell formalism is tested using representative examples with different dimensionalities, both in vacuum and in a homogeneous continuum dielectric environment. Fast convergence and good speedups are observed for all the simulation setups, provided the quantum-mechanical simulation cell is chosen to completely fit the electronic density of the system.

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This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and AIP Publishing. This article appeared in

Medrano, G., Bainglass, E. & Andreussi, O. (2023). Uncoupling System and Environment Simulation Cells for Fast-Scaling Modeling of Complex Continuum Embeddings. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 159(5), 054103

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