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First-Principles Search for Battery Electrodes

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  • UserZiheng Lu
  • ClockWednesday 10 February 2021, 11:30-12:30
  • HouseZoom.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Chuck Witt.

Electrode materials are critical components of rechargeable batteries which determine a series of device-level performances including energy density, rate capability, cyclic stability, and cost. Conventionally, the search of electrode materials relies on experimental trial-and-error and traversing existing computational databases. While these methods have led to the discovery of several commercially-viable cathodes materials, the chemical space being explored is limited and many hidden phases have been overlooked, especially those with meta-stability. We explore the possibility of using first-principles crystal structure prediction methods, in particular, ab-initio random structural searching (AIRSS), to search for novel electrode materials. We show that, by limiting the search space using a number of constraints including interatomic distances, cell volumes and spin states, AIRSS can efficiently predict both thermodynamically stable and meta-stable electrode materials. Specifically, we use LiCoO2, LiFePO4, and LixMnyOz to showcase the efficiency of the current method by re-identifying known cathodes. The effect of tunable parameters such as interatomic distances, cell volumes, and spin states on efficiency of sampling is discussed in detail. A minimal “learning” process is introduced by adapting interatomic distance constraints from low-energy random structures which efficiently captures the local coordination environment of atoms. We also use this method to make predictions. A family of cathode materials based on transition-metal oxalates is proposed which demonstrates superb energy density, oxygen-redox stability, and lithium diffusion properties.

This talk is part of the Electronic Structure Discussion Group series.

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