Fifty Shades of Water: Benchmarking DFT Functionals against Experimental Data for Ionic Crystalline Hydrates

Authors: Getachew Kebede, Peter Broqvist, Anders Eriksson, and Kersti Hermansson

We propose that crystalline ionic hydrates constitute a valuable resource for benchmarking theoretical methods for aqueous ionic systems. Many such structures are known from the experimental literature, and they contain a large variety of water–water and ion–water structural motifs. Here we have collected a data set (CRYSTALWATER50) of 50 structurally unique “in-crystal” water molecules, involved in close to 100 nonequivalent O–H···O hydrogen bonds. A dozen well-known DFT functionals were benchmarked with respect to their ability to describe these experimental structures and their OH vibrational frequencies. We find that the PBE, RPBE-D3, and optPBE-vdW methods give the best H-bond distances and that anharmonic OH frequencies generated from B3LYP//optPBE-vdW energy scans outperform the other methods, i.e., here we performed B3LYP energy scans along the OH stretching coordinate while the rest of the structure was kept fixed at the optPBE-vdW-optimized positions

J. Chem. Theory Comput.
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.8b00423

Dynamical and Structural Characterization of the Adsorption of Fluorinated Alkane Chains onto CeO2

Authors: Giovanni Barcaro , Luca Sementa, Susanna Monti , Vincenzo Carravetta, Peter Broqvist, Jolla Kullgren, and Kersti Hermansson

The widespread use of ceria-based materials and the need to design suitable strategies to prepare eco-friendly CeO2 supports for effective catalytic screening induced us to extend our computational multiscale protocol to the modeling of the hybrid organic/oxide interface between prototypical fluorinated linear alkane chains (polyethylene-like oligomers) and low-index ceria surfaces. The combination of quantum chemistry calculations and classical reactive molecular dynamics simulations provides a comprehensive picture of the interface and discloses, at the atomic level, the main causes of typical adsorption modes. The data show that at room temperature a moderate percentage of fluorine atoms (around 25%) can enhance the interaction of the organic chains by anchoring strongly pivotal fluorines to the channels of the underneath ceria (100) surface, whereas an excessive content can remarkably reduce this interaction because of the repulsion between fluorine and the negatively charged oxygen of the surface.

J. Phys. Chem. C, Volume 41, 2018, Page 23405

Indirect-to-Direct Band Gap Transition of Si Nanosheets: Effect of Biaxial Strain

Authors: Byung-Hyun Kim , Mina Park, Gyubong Kim, Kersti Hermansson, Peter Broqvist, Heon-Jin Choi, and Kwang-Ryeol Lee

The effect of biaxial strain on the band structure of two-dimensional silicon nanosheets (Si NSs) with (111), (110), and (001) exposed surfaces was investigated by means of density functional theory calculations. For all the considered Si NSs, an indirect-to-direct band gap transition occurs as the lateral dimensions of Si NSs increase; that is, increasing lateral biaxial strain from compressive to tensile always enhances the direct band gap characteristics. Further analysis revealed the mechanism of the transition which is caused by preferential shifts of the conduction band edge at a specific k-point because of their bond characteristics. Our results explain a photoluminescence result of the (111) Si NSs [U. Kim et al., ACS Nano 2011, 5, 2176–2181] in terms of the plausible tensile strain imposed in the unoxidized inner layer by surface oxidation.

J. Phys. Chem. C, Volume 27, 2018, Page 15297

Screened hybrid functionals applied to ceria: Effect of Fock exchange

Authors: Dou Du, Matthew J. Wolf, Kersti Hermansson, and Peter Broqvist

We investigate how the redox properties of ceria are affected by the fraction of Fock exchange in screened HSE06-based hybrid density functionals, and we compare with PBE+U results, and with experiments when available. We find that using 15% Fock exchange yields a good compromise with respect to structure, electronic structure, and calculated reduction energies, and represents a significant improvement over the PBE+U results. We also investigate the possibility to use a computationally cheaper HSE06//PBE+U protocol consisting of structure optimization with PBE+U, a subsequent lattice parameter rescaling step, and, finally, a single-point full hybrid calculation. We find that such a composite computational protocol works very well and yields results in close agreement with those where HSE06 was used also for the structure optimization.

Phys. Rev. B, Volume 97, Page 235203.



Unravelling in-situ formation of highly active mixed metal oxide CuInO2 nanoparticles during CO2 electroreduction

Authors: Roghayeh Imani, Zhen Qiu, Reza Younesi, Meysam Pazoki, Daniel L.A. Fernandes, Pavlin D. Mitev, Tomas Edvinsson, Haining Tian

Technologies and catalysts for converting carbon dioxide (CO2) to immobile products are of high interest to minimize greenhouse effects. Copper(I) is a promising catalytic active state of copper but hampered by the inherent instability in comparison to copper(II) or copper(0). Here, we report a stabilization of the catalytic active state of copper(I) by the formation of a mixed metal oxide CuInO2 nanoparticle during the CO2electroreduction. Our result shows the incorporation of nanoporous Sn:In2O3 interlayer to Cu2O pre-catalyst system lead to the formation of CuInO2 nanoparticles with remarkably higher activity for CO2 electroreduction at lower overpotential in comparison to the conventional Cu nanoparticles derived from sole Cu2O. Operando Raman spectroelectrochemistry is employed to in-situ monitor the process of nanoparticles formation during the electrocatalytic process. The experimental data are collaborated with DFT calculations to provide insight into the electro-formation of the type of Cu-based mixed metal oxide catalyst during the CO2 electroreduction, where a formation mechanism via copper ion diffusion across the substrate is suggested.

Nano Energy, Volume 49, July 2018, Pages 40-50

Maximally resolved anharmonic OH vibrational spectrum of the water/ZnO(10-10) interface from a high-dimensional neural network potential

Authors:  Vanessa Quaranta, Matti Hellström, Jörg Behler, Jolla Kullgren, Pavlin D. Mitev, and Kersti Hermansson

Unraveling the atomistic details of solid/liquid interfaces, e.g., by means of vibrational spectroscopy, is of vital importance in numerous applications, from electrochemistry to heterogeneous catalysis. Water-oxide interfaces represent a formidable challenge because a large variety of molecular and dissociated water species are present at the surface. Here, we present a comprehensive theoretical analysis of the anharmonic OH stretching vibrations at the water/ZnO(10-10) interface as a prototypical case. Molecular dynamics simulations employing a reactive high-dimensional neural network potential based on density functional theory calculations have been used to sample the interfacial structures. In the second step, one-dimensional potential energy curves have been generated for a large number of configurations to solve the nuclear Schrödinger equation. We find that (i) the ZnO surface gives rise to OH frequency shifts up to a distance of about 4 Å from the surface; (ii) the spectrum contains a number of overlapping signals arising from different chemical species, with the frequencies decreasing in the order ν(adsorbed hydroxide) > ν(non-adsorbed water) > ν(surface hydroxide) > ν(adsorbed water); (iii) stretching frequencies are strongly influenced by the hydrogen bond pattern of these interfacial species. Finally, we have been able to identify substantial correlations between the stretching frequencies and hydrogen bond lengths for all species.

The Journal of Chemical Physics, 148, 241720 (2018);

Hydrogen-Bond Relations for Surface OH Species

Authors: Getachew G. Kebede , Pavlin D. Mitev, Peter Broqvist, Jolla Kullgren , and Kersti Hermansson

This paper concerns thin water films and their hydrogen-bond patterns on ionic surfaces. As far as we are aware, this is the first time H-bond correlations for surface water and hydroxide species are presented in the literature while hydrogen-bond relations in the solid state have been scrutinized for at least five decades. Our data set, which was derived using density functional theory, consists of 116 unique surface OH groups–intact water molecules as well as hydroxides–on MgO(001), CaO(001) and NaCl(001), covering the whole range from strong to weak to no H-bonds. The intact surface water molecules are found to always be redshifted with respect to the gas-phase water OH vibrational frequency, whereas the surface hydroxide groups are either redshifted (OsH) or blueshifted (OHf) compared to the gas-phase OH frequency. The surface H-bond relations are compared with the traditional relations for bulk crystals. We find that the “ν(OH) vs R(H···O)” correlation curve for surface water does not coincide with the solid state curve: it is redshifted by about 200 cm–1 or more. The intact water molecules and hydroxide groups on the ionic surfaces essentially follow the same H-bond correlation curve.

J. Phys. Chem. C2018122 (9), pp 4849–4858
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b10981

Vacancy dipole interactions and the correlation with monovalent cation dependent ion movement in lead halide perovskite solar cell materials

Authors: M.Pazoki, M. J. Wolf, T. Edvinsson and J.Kullgren

Ion migration has recently been suggested to play critical roles in the operation of lead halide perovskite solar cells. However, so far there has been no systematic investigation of how the monovalent cation affects the vacancy formation, ion migration and the associated hysteresis effect. Here, we present density functional theory calculations on all possible ion migration barriers in the perovskite materials with different cations i.e. CH3NH3PbI3, CH(NH2)2PbI3 and CsPbI3 in the tetragonal phase and investigate vacancy monovalent-cation interactions within the framework of the possible ion migrations. The most relevant ion movement (iodide) is investigated in greater detail and corresponding local structural changes, the relationships with the local ionic dielectric response, Stark effect and current-voltage hysteresis are discussed. We observe a correlation between the energy barrier for iodine migration and the magnitude of the dipole of the monovalent cation. From the data, we suggest a vacancy-dipole interaction mechanism by which the larger dipole of the monovalent cation can respond to and screen the local electric fields more effectively. The stronger response of the high dipolar monovalent cation to the vacancy electrostatic potential in turn leads to a lower local structural changes within the neighbouring octahedra. The presented data reveal a detailed picture of the ion movement, vacancy dipole interactions and the consequent local structural changes, which contain fundamental information about the photo-physics, and dielectric response of the material.

Nano Energy, 38, 2017, pp. 537-543
DOI: 10.1016/j.nanoen.2017.06.024

DFT-based Monte Carlo Simulations of Impurity Clustering at CeO2(111)

Authors: Jolla Kullgren, Matthew J. Wolf, Pavlin D. Mitev, Kersti Hermansson and Wim J. Briels

The interplay between energetics and entropy in determining defect distributions at ceria(111) is studied using a combination of DFT+U and lattice Monte Carlo simulations. Our main example is fluorine impurities, although we also present preliminary results for surface hydroxyl groups. A simple classical force-field model was constructed from a training set of DFT+U data for all symmetrically inequivalent (F)n(Ce3+)n nearest-neighbor clusters with n = 2 or 3. Our fitted model reproduces the DFT energies well. We find that for an impurity concentration of 15% at 600 K, straight and hooked linear fluorine clusters are surprisingly abundant, with similarities to experimental STM images from the literature. We also find that with increasing temperature the fluorine cluster sizes show a transition from being governed by an attractive potential to being governed by a repulsive potential as a consequence of the increasing importance of the entropy of the Ce3+ ions. The distributions of surface hydroxyl groups are noticeably different.

J. Phys. Chem. C, 2017, 121 (28), pp 15127–15134
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b00299

Electronic structure of organic–inorganic lanthanide iodide perovskite solar cell materials

Authors: M. Pazoki, A. Röckert, M. J. Wolf, R. Imani, T. Edvinsson, and J. Kullgren.

The emergence of highly efficient lead halide perovskite solar cell materials makes the exploration and engineering of new lead free compounds very interesting both from a fundamental perspective as well as for potential use as new materials in solar cell devices. Herein we present the electronic structure of several lanthanide (La) based materials in the metalorganic halide perovskite family not explored before. Our estimated bandgaps for the lanthanide (Eu, Dy, Tm, Yb) perovskite compounds are in the range of 2.0–3.2 eV showing the possibility for implementation as photo-absorbers in tandem solar cell configurations or charge separating materials. We have estimated the typical effective masses of the electrons and holes for MALaI3 (La= Eu, Dy, Tm, Yb) to be in the range of 0.3–0.5 and 0.97–4.0 units of the free electron mass, respectively. We have shown that the localized f-electrons within our DFT+U approach, make the dominant electronic contribution to the states at the top of the valence band and thus have a strong impact on the photo-physical properties of the lanthanide perovskites. Therefore, the main valence to conduction band electronic transition for MAEuI3 is based on inner shell f-electron localized states within a periodic framework of perovskite crystal by which the optical absorption onset would be rather inert with respect to quantum confinement effects. The very similar crystal structure and lattice constant of the lanthanide perovskites to the widely studied CH3NH3PbI3 perovskite, are prominent advantages for implementation of these compounds in tandem or charge selective contacts in PV applications together with lead iodide perovskite devices.

J. Mater. Chem. A, 5, 2017, pp. 23131-23138
DOI: 10.1039/C7TA07716E