5 years ago

Solvation and Dynamics of Sodium and Potassium in Ethylene Carbonate from ab Initio Molecular Dynamics Simulations

Solvation and Dynamics of Sodium and Potassium in Ethylene Carbonate from ab Initio Molecular Dynamics Simulations
Kyoung E. Kweon, John E. Pask, Amit Samanta, Tuan Anh Pham, Vincenzo Lordi
The development of sodium and potassium batteries offers a promising way to meet the scaling and cost challenges of energy storage. However, compared to Li+, several intrinsic properties of Na+ and K+, including their solvation and dynamics in typical organic electrolytes utilized in battery applications, are less well-understood. Here, we report a systematic investigation of Na+ and K+ in ethylene carbonate (EC) using first-principles molecular dynamics simulations. Our simulations reveal significant differences in the solvation structure and dynamical properties of Na+ and K+ compared to Li+. We find that, in contrast to Li+ which exhibits a well-defined first solvation shell, the larger Na+ and K+ ions show more disordered and flexible solvation structures. These differences in solvation were found to significantly influence the ion dynamics, leading to larger diffusion coefficients of Na+ and K+ compared to Li+. Our simulations also reveal a clear and interesting analog in the behavior of the ions in EC and aqueous environments, particularly in the specific ion effects on the solvent dynamics. This work provides fundamental understanding of the intrinsic properties of Na+ and K+ in organic electrolytes, which may ultimately influence the intercalation mechanism at the electrode–electrolyte interface and therefore battery performance, lifetime, and safety.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b06457

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b06457

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