Faculty of Social Sciences

Energy Storage Materials: Insights From ab Initio Theory: Diffusion, Structure, Thermodynamics and Design.

  • Date: 12/7/2017 at 1:15 PM
  • Location: Polhemsalen, Ångström Laboratory, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala
  • Lecturer: Araújo, Rafael Barros Neves de
  • Website
  • Organizer: Materialteori
  • Contact person: Araújo, Rafael Barros Neves de
  • Disputation

In this thesis, different organic materials for rechargeable batteries were theoretically characterized with quite distinct objectives.

The development of science and technology have provided a lifestyle completely dependent on energy consumption. Devices such as computers and mobile phones are good examples of how our daily life depends on electric energy. In this scenario, energy storage technologies emerge with strategic importance providing efficient ways to transport and commercialize the produced energy. Rechargeable batteries come as the most suitable alternative to fulfill the market demand due to their higher energy- and power- density when compared with other electrochemical energy storage systems. In this context, during the production of this thesis, promising compounds for advanced batteries application were investigated from the theoretical viewpoint. The framework of the density functional theory has been employed together with others theoretical tools to study properties such as ionic diffusion, redox potential, electronic structure and crystal structure prediction.

Different organic materials were theoretically characterized with quite distinct objectives. For instance, a protocol able to predict the redox potential in solution of long oligomers were developed and tested against experimental measurements. Strategies such as anchoring of small active molecules on polymers backbone have also been investigated through a screening process that determined the most promising candidates. Methods such as evolutionary simulation and basin-hopping algorithm were employed to search for global minimum crystal structures of small molecules and inorganic compounds working as a cathode of advanced sodium batteries. The crystal structure evolution of C6Cl4O2 upon Na insertion was unveiled and the main reasons behind the lower specific capacity obtained in the experiment were clarified. Ab initio molecular dynamics and the nudged elastic band method were employed to understand the underlying ionic diffusion mechanisms in the recently proposed Alluaudite and Eldfellite cathode materials. Moreover, it was demonstrated that electronic conduction in Na2O2, a byproduct of the Na-O2 battery, occurs via hole polarons hopping. Important physical and chemical insights were obtained during the production of this thesis. It finally supports the development of low production cost, environmental friendliness and efficient electrode compounds for advanced secondary batteries.