An important concern related to the performance of Li ion batteries is the formation of the solid electrolyte interphase on the surface of the anode. This film is formed from the decomposition of electrolytes and can have important effects on stability and performance. Here, we evaluate the decomposition pathway of ethylene carbonate and related organic electrolyte molecules using a series of density functional approximations and correlated wavefunction (WF) methods, including coupled-cluster theory with single, double, and perturbative triple excitations [CCSD(T)] and auxiliary field quantum Monte Carlo (AFQMC). We find that the transition state barrier associated with ring opening varies widely across different functionals, ranging from 3.00 to 17.15 kcal/mol, which can be compared to the value of 12.84 kcal/mol predicted by CCSD(T).This large variation underscores the importance of benchmarking against accurate WF methods. A performance comparison of all the density functionals used in this study reveals that dispersion-corrected M06-2X (a meta-hybrid GGA), CAMB3LYP (a range-separated hybrid) and B2GP-PLYP (a double-hybrid) perform the best, with average errors of about 1.60 kcal/mol compared to CCSD(T). We also compared the performance of WF methods that are more scalable than CCSD(T), finding that DLPNO-CCSD(T) and phaseless AFQMC with a DFT trial wavefunction exhibit average errors of 1.38 kcal/mol and 1.74 kcal/mol respectively.
Accurate quantum chemical reaction energies for lithium-mediated electrolyte decomposition and evaluation of density functional approximations
The supporting information includes • Individual reaction energies of ethylene carbonate decomposition pathway • Individual reaction energies of fluoroethylene carbonate decomposition pathway • Individual reaction energies of propylene carbonate decomposition pathway