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Dr Emilia Olsson

My publications


Emilia Olsson, Guoliang Chai, Martin Dove, and Qiong Cai (2019). Adsorption and migration of alkali metals (Li, Na, and K) on pristine and defective graphene surfaces
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In this paper, a computational study of Li, Na, and K adsorption and migration on pristine and defective graphene surfaces is conducted to gain insight into the metal storage and mobility in carbon-based anodes for alkali metal batteries. Atomic level studies of the metal adsorption and migration on the graphene surface can help address the challenges faced in the development of novel alkali metal battery technologies, as these systems act as convenient proxies of the crystalline carbon surface in carbon-based materials including graphite, hard carbons and graphene. The adsorption of Li and K ions on the pristine graphene surface is shown to be more energetically favourable than Na adsorption. A collection of defects expected to be found in carbonaceous materials are investigated in terms of metal storage and mobility, with N- and O-containing defects found to be the dominant defects on these carbon surfaces. Metal adsorption and migration at the defect sites show that defect sites tend to act as metal trapping sites, and metal diffusion around the defects is hindered when compared to the pristine surface. We identify a defect where two C sites are substituted with O and one C site with N as the dominant surface defect, and find that this defect is detrimental to metal migration and hence the battery cycling performance.
Olsson, Emilia, Aparicio-Anglès, Xavier, de Leeuw, Nora H. (2017). A computational study of the electronic properties, ionic conduction, and thermal expansion of Sm 1−x A x CoO 3 and Sm 1−x A x CoO 3−x/2 (A = Ba 2+ , Ca 2+ , Sr 2+ , and x = 0.25, 0.5) as intermediate temperature SOFC cathodes
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The substitutional doping of Ca2+, Sr2+, and Ba2+ on the Sm-site in the cubic perovskite SmCoO3 is reported to improve both electronic and ionic conductivities for applications as solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) cathodes. Hence, in this study we have used density functional theory (DFT) calculations to investigate dopant configurations at two different dopant concentrations: 25 and 50%. To preserve the electroneutrality of the system, we have studied two different charge compensation mechanisms: the creation of oxygen vacancies, and electronic holes. After examining the electronic structure, charge density difference, and oxygen vacancy formation energies, we concluded that oxygen vacancy charge compensation is the preferred mechanism to maintain the electroneutrality of the system. Furthermore, we found that the improvement of the electronic conduction is not a direct consequence of the appearance of electron holes, but a result of the distortion of the material, more specifically, the distortion of the Co–O bonds. Finally, molecular dynamics were employed to model ionic conduction and thermal expansion coefficients. It was found that all dopants at both concentrations showed high ionic conduction comparable to experimental results.
Olsson, Emilia, Aparicio-Anglès, Xavier, de Leeuw, Nora H. (2016). A DFT + U study of the structural , electronic , magnetic , and mechanical properties of cubic and orthorhombic SmCoO3
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SmCoO3 is a perovskite material that has gained attention as a potential substitute forLa1 xSrxMnO3 d as a solid oxide fuel cell cathode. However, a number of properties have remained unknown due to the complexity of the material. For example, we know from experimental evidence that this perovskite exists in two different crystal structures, cubic and orthorhombic, and that the cobalt ion changes its spin state at high temperatures, leading to a semiconductor-to-metal transition. However, little is known about the precise magnetic structure that causes the metallic behavior or the spin state of the Co centers at high temperature. Here, we therefore present a systematic DFT+U study of the magnetic properties of SmCoO3 in order to determine what magnetic ordering is the one exhibited by the metallic phase at different temperatures. Similarly, mechanical properties are difficult to mea- sure experimentally, which is why there is a lack of data for the two different phases of SmCoO3. Taking advantage of our DFT calculations, we have determined the mechanical properties from our calculated elastic constants, finding that both polymorphs exhibit similar ductility and brittleness, but that the cubic structure is harder than the orthorhombic phase.
Olsson, Emilia, Aparicio-Anglès, Xavier, de Leeuw, Nora H. (2016). Ab initio study of vacancy formation in cubic LaMnO3 and SmCoO3 as cathode materials in solid oxide fuel cells
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Doped LaMnO3 and SmCoO3 are important solid oxide fuel cell cathode materials. The main difference between these two perovskites is that SmCoO3 has proven to be a more efficient cathode material than LaMnO3 at lower temperatures. In order to explain the difference in efficiency, we need to gain insight into the materials’ properties at the atomic level. However, while LaMnO3 has been widely studied, ab initio studies on SmCoO3 are rare. Hence, in this paper, we perform a comparative DFT + U study of the structural, electronic, and magnetic properties of these two perovskites. To that end, we first determined a suitable Hubbard parameter for the Co d–electrons to obtain a proper description of SmCoO3 that fully agrees with the available experimental data.We next evaluated the impact of oxygen and cation vacancies on the geometry, electronic, and magnetic properties. Oxygen vacancies strongly alter the electronic and magnetic structures of SmCoO3, but barely affect LaMnO3. However, due to their high formation energy, their concentrations in the material are very low and need to be induced by doping. Studying the cation vacancy concentration showed that the formation of cation vacancies is less energetically favorable than oxygen vacancies and would thus not markedly influence the performance of the cathode. Published
Emilia Olsson, Jonathon Cottom, Xavier Aparicio-Anglès, and Nora H. de Leeuw (2019). Computational study of the mixed B-site perovskite SmBxCo1−xO3−d (B = Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu) for next generation solid oxide fuel cell cathodes
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SmCoO3 is a promising perovskite material for the next generation of intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), but its potential application is directly linked to, and dependent on, the presence of dopant ions. Doping on the Co-site is suggested to improve the catalytic and electronic properties of this cathode material. Fe, Mn, Ni, and Cu have been proposed as possible dopants and experimental studies have investigated and confirmed the potential of these materials. Here we present a systematic DFT+U study focused on the changes in electronic, magnetic, and physical properties with B-site doping of SmCoO3 to allow cathode optimization. It is shown that doping generally leads to distortion in the system, thereby inducing different electron occupations of the Co d-orbitals, altering the electronic and magnetic structure. From these calculations, the 0 K electronic conductivity (σe) was obtained, with SmMnxCo1−xO3 having the highest σe, and SmFexCo1−xO3 the lowest σe, in agreement with experiment. We have also investigated the impact of dopant species and concentration on the oxygen vacancy formation energy (Ef), which is related to the ionic conductivity (σO). We found that the Ef values are lowered only when SmCoO3 is doped with Cu or Ni. Finally, thermal expansion coefficients were calculated, with Mn-doping showing the largest decrease at low x and at x = 0.75. Combining these results, it is clear that Mn-doping in the range x = 0.125–0.25 would imbue SmCoO3 with the most favorable properties for IT-SOFC cathode applications.
Utsab Guharoy, Tomas Ramirez Reina , Emilia Olsson, Sai Gu , and Qiong Cai (2019). Theoretical Insights of Ni2P (0001) Surface toward Its Potential Applicability in CO2 Conversion via Dry Reforming of Methane
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This study reports the potential application of Ni2P as highly effective catalyst for chemical CO2recycling via dry reforming of methane (DRM). Our DFT calculations reveal that the Ni2P (0001) surface is active toward adsorption of the DRM species, with the Ni hollow site being the most energetically stable site and Ni–P and P contributing as coadsorption sites in DRM reaction steps. Free-energy analysis at 1000 K found CH–O to be the main pathway for CO formation. The competition of DRM and reverse water gas shift (RWGS) is also evidenced with the latter becoming important at relatively low reforming temperatures. Very interestingly, oxygen seems to play a key role in making this surface resistant toward coking. From microkinetic analysis, we have found greater oxygen surface coverage than that of carbon at high temperatures, which may help to oxidize carbon deposits in continuous runs. The tolerance of Ni2P toward carbon deposition was further corroborated by DFT and microkinetic analysis. Along with the higher probability of C oxidation, we identify poor capacity of carbon diffusion on the Ni2P (0001) surface with very limited availability of C nucleation sites. Overall, this study opens avenues for research in metal-phosphide catalysis and expands the application of these materials to CO2 conversion reactions.