skip to main content

Title: Effects of interstitial water and alkali cations on the expansion, intercalation potential, and orbital coupling of nickel hexacyanoferrate from first principles

Prussian blue analogs (PBAs) are an important material class for aqueous electrochemical separations and energy storage owing to their ability to reversibly intercalate monovalent cations. However, incorporating interstitial [Formula: see text] molecules in the ab initio study of PBAs is technically challenging, though essential to understanding the interactions between interstitial water, interstitial cations, and the framework lattice that affect intercalation potential and cation intercalation selectivity. Accordingly, we introduce and use a method that combines the efficiency of machine-learning models with the accuracy of ab initio calculations to elucidate mechanisms of (1) lattice expansion upon intercalation of cations of different sizes, (2) selectivity bias toward intercalating hydrophobic cations of large size, and (3) semiconductor–conductor transitions from anhydrous to hydrated lattices. We analyze the PBA nickel hexacyanoferrate [[Formula: see text]] due to its structural stability and electrochemical activity in aqueous electrolytes. Here, grand potential analysis is used to determine the equilibrium degree of hydration for a given intercalated cation (Na[Formula: see text], K[Formula: see text], or Cs[Formula: see text]) and [Formula: see text] oxidation state based on pressure-equilibrated structures determined with the aid of machine learning and simulated annealing. The results imply new directions for the rational design of future cation-intercalation electrode more » materials that optimize performance in various electrochemical applications, and they demonstrate the importance of choosing an appropriate calculation framework to predict the properties of PBA lattices accurately.

« less
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of Applied Physics
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 105101
American Institute of Physics
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Aqueous zinc-ion batteries, in terms of integration with high safety, environmental benignity, and low cost, have attracted much attention for powering electronic devices and storage systems. However, the interface instability issues at the Zn anode caused by detrimental side reactions such as dendrite growth, hydrogen evolution, and metal corrosion at the solid (anode)/liquid (electrolyte) interface impede their practical applications in the fields requiring long-term performance persistence. Despite the rapid progress in suppressing the side reactions at the materials interface, the mechanism of ion storage and dendrite formation in practical aqueous zinc-ion batteries with dual-cation aqueous electrolytes is still unclear. Herein, we design an interface material consisting of forest-like three-dimensional zinc-copper alloy with engineered surfaces to explore the Zn plating/stripping mode in dual-cation electrolytes. The three-dimensional nanostructured surface of zinc-copper alloy is demonstrated to be in favor of effectively regulating the reaction kinetics of Zn plating/stripping processes. The developed interface materials suppress the dendrite growth on the anode surface towards high-performance persistent aqueous zinc-ion batteries in the aqueous electrolytes containing single and dual cations. This work remarkably enhances the fundamental understanding of dual-cation intercalation chemistry in aqueous electrochemical systems and provides a guide for exploring high-performance aqueous zinc-ion batteries andmore »beyond.

    « less
  2. The mixed tin (Sn) and lead (Pb) perovskite compositions have shown great potential in perovskite photovoltaic devices due to the significantly enhanced material stability and prolonged carrier lifetime, compared to the pure Sn halide perovskites. In spite of the increasing interest, the behaviors of photo-generated charges and of the intrinsic point defects, such as the metal cation vacancies (V Sn and V Pb ) and the interstitial halogen (i I ), have not been well understood in this class of materials. We report first-principles density functional theory (DFT) calculations combined with ab initio non-adiabatic molecular dynamics (NAMD) simulations on the static and dynamic structures of MA 2 SnPbI 6 with and without these intrinsic defects. We discuss the nature of the defect states and unveil the influence of the intrinsic point defects on the structure, optoelectronic properties, and charge carrier dynamics of MA 2 SnPbI 6 . The i I defect significantly shortens the carrier lifetime by creating mid-gap states that provide new recombination pathways. In comparison, the vacancy defects have much weaker influence on the carrier lifetime. Both V Sn and V Pb produce the defect states just below the valence band maxima (VBMs), and do not alter themore »band gap. They affect the carrier lifetime through changing the energy dispersions of VBMs and the conduction band minima (CBMs). We suggest that excess cations should be used in the synthesis of perovskites to avoid the appearance of interstitial halogen defects.« less
  3. The product selectivity of many heterogeneous electrocatalytic processes is profoundly affected by the liquid side of the electrocatalytic interface. The electrocatalytic reduction of CO to hydrocarbons on Cu electrodes is a prototypical example of such a process. However, probing the interactions of surface-bound intermediates with their liquid reaction environment poses a formidable experimental challenge. As a result, the molecular origins of the dependence of the product selectivity on the characteristics of the electrolyte are still poorly understood. Herein, we examined the chemical and electrostatic interactions of surface-adsorbed CO with its liquid reaction environment. Using a series of quaternary alkyl ammonium cations (methyl4N+,ethyl4N+,propyl4N+, andbutyl4N+), we systematically tuned the properties of this environment. With differential electrochemical mass spectrometry (DEMS), we show that ethylene is produced in the presence ofmethyl4N+andethyl4N+cations, whereas this product is not synthesized inpropyl4N+- andbutyl4N+-containing electrolytes. Surface-enhanced infrared absorption spectroscopymore »(SEIRAS) reveals that the cations do not block CO adsorption sites and that the cation-dependent interfacial electric field is too small to account for the observed changes in selectivity. However, SEIRAS shows that an intermolecular interaction between surface-adsorbed CO and interfacial water is disrupted in the presence of the two larger cations. This observation suggests that this interaction promotes the hydrogenation of surface-bound CO to ethylene. Our study provides a critical molecular-level insight into how interactions of surface species with the liquid reaction environment control the selectivity of this complex electrocatalytic process.

    « less
  4. Nanoscale complex metal oxides have transformed how technology is used around the world. A ubiquitous example is the class of electroreactive cathodes used in Li-ion batteries, found in portable electronics and electric cars. Lack of recycling infrastructure and financial drivers contribute to improper disposal, and ultimately, introduction of these materials into the environment. Outside of sealed operational conditions, it has been demonstrated that complex metal oxides can transform in the environment, and cause negative biological impact through leaching of cations into aqueous phases. Using a combined DFT and thermodynamics methodology, insights into the mechanism and driving forces of cation release can be studied at the molecular-level. Here, we describe design principles that can be drawn from previous collaborative research on complex metal oxide dissolution of the Li(Ni y Mn z Co 1−y−z )O 2 family of materials, and go on to posit ternary complex metal oxides in the delafossite structure type with controlled release behavior. Using equistoichiometric formulations in the delfossite structure, we use DFT and thermodynamics to model cation release. The release trends are discussed in terms of lattice stability, solution chemistry/solubility limits, and electronic/magnetic properties. Intercalation voltages are calculated and discussed as a predictive metric for potential functionalitymore »of the model materials.« less
  5. Hydrated vanadium pentoxide (VOH) can deliver a gravimetric capacity as high as 400 mA h g −1 owing to the variable valence states of the V cation from 5+ to 3+ in an aqueous zinc ion battery. The incorporation of divalent transition metal cations has been demonstrated to overcome the structural instability, sluggish kinetics, fast capacity degradation, and serious polarization. The current study reveals that the catalytic effects of transition metal cations are probably the key to the significantly improved electrochemical properties and battery performance because of the higher covalent character of 55% in the Cu–O bond in comparison with 32% in the Mg–O bond in the respective samples. Cu( ii ) pre-inserted VOH (CuVOH) possesses a significantly enhanced intercalation storage capacity, an increased discharge voltage, great transport properties, and reduced polarization, while both VOH and Mg( ii ) pre-inserted VOH (MgVOH) demonstrate similar electrochemical properties and performances, indicating that the incorporation of Mg cations has little or no impact. For example, CuVOH has a redox voltage gap of 0.02 V, much smaller than 0.25 V for VOH and 0.27 V for MgVOH. CuVOH shows an enhanced exchange current density of 0.23 A g −1 , compared to 0.20 Amore »g −1 for VOH and 0.19 A g −1 for MgVOH. CuVOH delivers a zinc ion storage capacity of 379 mA h g −1 , higher than 349 mA h g −1 for MgVOH and 337 mA h g −1 for VOH at 0.5 A g −1 . CuVOH shows an energy efficiency of 72%, superior to 53% for VOH and 55% for MgVOH. All of the results suggest that pre-inserted Cu( ii ) cations played a critical role in catalyzing the zinc ion intercalation reaction, while the Mg( ii ) cations did not exert a detectable catalytic effect.« less