Using molecular dynamics to quantify the electrical double layer and examine the potential for its direct observation in the in-situ TEM

David A Welch, B Layla Mehdi, Hannah J Hatchell, Roland Faller, James E Evans, Nigel D Browning
2015 Advanced Structural and Chemical Imaging  
Understanding the fundamental processes taking place at the electrode-electrolyte interface in batteries will play a key role in the development of next generation energy storage technologies. One of the most fundamental aspects of the electrode-electrolyte interface is the electrical double layer (EDL). Given the recent development of high spatial resolution in-situ electrochemical fluid cells for scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), there now exists the possibility that we can
more » ... ectly observe the formation and dynamics of the EDL. In this paper we predict electrolyte structure within the EDL using classical models and atomistic Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations. Classical models are found to greatly differ from MD in predicted concentration profiles. It is thus suggested that MD must be used in order to accurately predict STEM images of the electrode-electrolyte interface. Using MD and image simulation together for a high contrast electrolyte (the high atomic number CsCl electrolyte), it is determined that, for a smooth interface, concentration profiles within the EDL should be visible experimentally. When normal experimental parameters such as rough interfaces and low-Z electrolytes (like those used in Li-ion batteries) are considered, observation of the EDL appears to be more difficult.
doi:10.1186/s40679-014-0002-2 fatcat:lzx5uppkv5axtke4ogrbr4oenq