Molecular Dynamics Simulation of LiTFSI−Acetamide Electrolytes: Structural Properties

The liquid structures of nonaqueous electrolytes composed of lithium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide (LiTFSI) and acetamide, with LiTFSI/acetamide molar ratios of 1:2, 1:4, and 1:6, were studied by molecular dynamics simulations. The simulations indicate that the Li+ cations prefer to be six-coordinate by the sulfonyl oxygen atoms of the TFSI anions and the carbonyl oxygen atoms of the acetamide molecules, rather than by the most electronegative nitrogen atom of the TFSI anion. Therefore, close Li+−TFSI contact pairs exist in the system. The TFSI anion prefers to provide only one of four possible oxygen atoms to coordinate to the same Li+ cation. Three conformations (cis, trans, and gauche) of the TFSI anions were found to coexist in the liquid electrolyte. At high salt concentrations, the TFSI anions mainly adopt the gauche conformation in order to provide more oxygen atoms to coordinate to different Li+ cations, while simultaneously reducing the repulsion among the Li+ cations. On the other hand, the fraction of TFSI anions adopting the cis conformation is largest for the system with the molar ratio of 1:6, in which many clusters, mainly composed of the Li+ cations and the TFSI anions, are immersed in the acetamide molecules. The size and charge distribution of clusters were also investigated. In the system with the molar ratio of 1:2, nearly all of the ions in the PBC (periodic boundary conditions) box aggregate into a bulky cluster that gradually disassembles into small clusters with decreasing salt concentration. The addition of acetamide molecules was found to effectively relax the liquid electrolyte structure, and the system with the molar ratio of 1:4 was found to exhibit a more homogeneous liquid structure than the other two electrolyte systems with molar ratios of 1:2 and 1:6.