Analysis of a Li-Ion Nanobattery with Graphite Anode Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations

V Ponce and DE Galvez-Aranda and JM Seminario, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY C, 121, 12959-12971 (2017).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b04190

Molecular dynamics simulations were performed to investigate the initial charging of a Li-ion nanobattery with a graphite anode and lithium hexaflourphosphate (LiPF6) salt dissolved in ethylene carbonate (CO3C2H4) solvent as the electrolyte solution. The charging was achieved through the application of external electric fields simulating voltage sources. A variety of force fields were combined to simulate the materials of the nanobattery, including the solid electrolyte interphase, metal collectors, and insulator cover. Some of the force field parameters were estimated using ab initio methods, and others were taken from the literature. We studied the behavior of Li-ions traveling from cathode to anode through electrolyte solutions of concentrations 1.15 and 336 M. Time-dependent variables such-as energy, temperature, volume, polarization, and mean square displacement are reported; a few of these variables, as well as others such as current, resistance, current density, conductivity, and resistivity are reported as a function of the external field and charging voltage. A solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer was also added to the model to study the mechanism behind the diffusion of the Li-ions through the SET As the battery is charged, the depletion of Li atoms in the cathode and their accumulation in the anode follow a linear increase of the polarizability in the solvent, until reaching a saturation point after which the charging of the battery stops (i.e the energy provided by the external source decays to very low levels). The nanobattery model containing the most common materials of a commercial lithium-ion battery is very useful to determine atomistic information that is difficult or too expensive to obtain experimentally; available data shows consistency with our results.

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