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Development and Application of Embedding Methods for the Simulation of Large Chemical Systems


Barnes, Taylor Arnold (2015) Development and Application of Embedding Methods for the Simulation of Large Chemical Systems. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9KK98P1.


The high computational cost of correlated wavefunction theory (WFT) calculations has motivated the development of numerous methods to partition the description of large chemical systems into smaller subsystem calculations. For example, WFT-in-DFT embedding methods facilitate the partitioning of a system into two subsystems: a subsystem A that is treated using an accurate WFT method, and a subsystem B that is treated using a more efficient Kohn-Sham density functional theory (KS-DFT) method. Representation of the interactions between subsystems is non-trivial, and often requires the use of approximate kinetic energy functionals or computationally challenging optimized effective potential calculations; however, it has recently been shown that these challenges can be eliminated through the use of a projection operator. This dissertation describes the development and application of embedding methods that enable accurate and efficient calculation of the properties of large chemical systems.

Chapter 1 introduces a method for efficiently performing projection-based WFT-in-DFT embedding calculations on large systems. This is accomplished by using a truncated basis set representation of the subsystem A wavefunction. We show that naive truncation of the basis set associated with subsystem A can lead to large numerical artifacts, and present an approach for systematically controlling these artifacts.

Chapter 2 describes the application of the projection-based embedding method to investigate the oxidative stability of lithium-ion batteries. We study the oxidation potentials of mixtures of ethylene carbonate (EC) and dimethyl carbonate (DMC) by using the projection-based embedding method to calculate the vertical ionization energy (IE) of individual molecules at the CCSD(T) level of theory, while explicitly accounting for the solvent using DFT. Interestingly, we reveal that large contributions to the solvation properties of DMC originate from quadrupolar interactions, resulting in a much larger solvent reorganization energy than that predicted using simple dielectric continuum models. Demonstration that the solvation properties of EC and DMC are governed by fundamentally different intermolecular interactions provides insight into key aspects of lithium-ion batteries, with relevance to electrolyte decomposition processes, solid-electrolyte interphase formation, and the local solvation environment of lithium cations.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Density Functional Theory ; Quantum Embedding ; Wavefunction Theory ; Nonadditive Kinetic Energy Lithium-Ion Batteries
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Miller, Thomas F.
Thesis Committee:
  • Goddard, William A., III (chair)
  • Miller, Thomas F.
  • Okumura, Mitchio
  • Fultz, Brent T.
Defense Date:13 April 2015
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04212015-084744168
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8826
Deposited By: Taylor Barnes
Deposited On:24 Apr 2015 22:05
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:07

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