Molecular Dynamics Simulation Study of Solvent and State of Charge Effects on Solid-Phase Structure and Counterion Binding in a Nitroxide Radical Containing Polymer Energy Storage Material

TW Kemper and T Gennett and RE Larsen, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 120, 25639-25646 (2016).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.6b07118

We performed molecular dynamics simulations to understand the effects of solvent swelling and state of charge (SOC) on the redox active, organic radical cathode material poly(2,2,6,6-tetramethylpi-peridinyloxy methacrylate) (PTMA). We show that the polar solvent acetonitrile primarily solvates the nitroxide radical without disrupting the packing of the (2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidin-1-yl)oxyl (TEMPO) pendant groups of PTMA. We also simulated bulk PTMA in different SOC, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%, by converting the appropriate number of TEMPO groups to the cation charge state and adding BF4- counterions to the simulation. At each SOC the packing of PTMA, the solvent, and the counterions were examined. The binding of the anion to the nitroxide cation site was examined using the potential of mean force and found to be on the order of tens of meV, with a binding energy that decreased with increasing SOC. In addition, we found that the cation state is stabilized by the presence of a nearby anion by more than 1 eV, and the implications of this stabilization on charge transport are discussed. Finally, we describe the implications of our results for how the SOC of an organic electrode affects electron and anion charge transport during the charging and discharging processes.

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