Publications / Journal Article

A hybrid, coupled approach for modeling charged fluids from the nano to the mesoscale

Cheung, James C.; Frischknecht, Amalie F.; Perego, Mauro P.; Bochev, Pavel B.

We develop and demonstrate a new, hybrid simulation approach for charged fluids, which combines the accuracy of the nonlocal, classical density functional theory (cDFT) with the efficiency of the Poisson–Nernst–Planck (PNP) equations. The approach is motivated by the fact that the more accurate description of the physics in the cDFT model is required only near the charged surfaces, while away from these regions the PNP equations provide an acceptable representation of the ionic system. We formulate the hybrid approach in two stages. The first stage defines a coupled hybrid model in which the PNP and cDFT equations act independently on two overlapping domains, subject to suitable interface coupling conditions. At the second stage we apply the principles of the alternating Schwarz method to the hybrid model by using the interface conditions to define the appropriate boundary conditions and volume constraints exchanged between the PNP and the cDFT subdomains. Numerical examples with two representative examples of ionic systems demonstrate the numerical properties of the method and its potential to reduce the computational cost of a full cDFT calculation, while retaining the accuracy of the latter near the charged surfaces.