Lithiation of Sulfur-Graphene Compounds Using Reactive Force-Field Molecular Dynamics Simulations

V Ponce and JM Seminario, JOURNAL OF THE ELECTROCHEMICAL SOCIETY, 167, 100555 (2020).

DOI: 10.1149/1945-7111/ab9ccf

We performed molecular dynamics simulations of lithium-sulfur-graphene compounds using reactive force fields, providing a time scale to observe atomistic features relevant to the microscopic behavior of the of the bulk of sulfur-based cathodes to be used beyond our present Li-ion batteries. The samples we used were set to realistic geometries through sophisticated protocols to simulate ultrafast reactions that occur within the picosecond range, thus allowing us to get some insights into the characteristics of the bulk material in working cathodes of Li-S batteries, which are mixed with carbon to increase the poor electronic conductivity of S. We report chemical speciation and geometrical data at atomistic levels. We observed that slowly lithiated cathodes were more stable and with higher density than those that were suddenly fully- lithiated. We did not observe molecular Li2S formation; however, we observed an amorphous solid arrangement with the same stoichiometry of Li and S, with S-Li-S angles of similar to 111 degrees and smaller ones due to the interaction between polysulfides that did not reacted totally. In addition, graphene keeps its planar shape; however, S(8)changes its shape from rings to chains. Lithiated structures are more stable with lower energies, and more close-packed structures than structures with Li already inserted.

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