MxLa1-xSiO2-yNz Full-Visible Spectrum Phosphors

Mahdi’s collaborative work with the group of Prof Rong-jun Xie on “MxLa1−xSiO2−yNz (M = Ca/Sr/Ba): Elucidating and Tuning the Structure and Eu2+ Local Environments to Develop Full-Visible Spectrum Phosphors” has just been published in Chemistry of Materials! The local environments of rare-earth activators have profound effects on the luminescent properties of phosphors. Here, we elucidate the crystal structure of the LaSiO2N phosphor host using a combination of density functional theory calculations and synchrotron Xray diffraction. We determine that LaSiO2N crystallizes in the monoclinic C2/c instead of the hexagonal P6̅c2 space group. To improve the luminescence performance, divalent cations M (M = Ca/Sr/Ba) were introduced into LaSiO2N to eliminate Eu3+. A family of apatite M1+xLa4−xSi3O13−x/2:Eu2+ (x ∼ 1.5, M = Ca/Sr/Ba) phosphors was further developed with unprecedented ultra-broadband (290 nm) emission spectra and excellent thermal stability. Detailed local environment investigations reveal that the formation of oxygen vacancies within and beyond the first shell environment of Eu2+ is responsible for the redshift and broadening of the emission spectra via geometrical alteration of the Eu2+ local environment. This work provides new insights for understanding and optimizing the luminescence of rare-earth phosphors.

Check out this work here.

Associate Editor of ACS Materials Letters

ACS Materials Letters

Prof Ong has been appointed Associate Editor of ACS Materials Letters with effect from Feb 1 2022. ACS Materials Letters publishes high quality and urgent papers on the forefront of fundamental and applied research, at the interface between materials and other disciplines, such as chemistry, engineering and biology. Papers that showcase multidisciplinary and innovative materials research addressing global challenges are especially welcome.

Highly Cited Researcher 2021

Prof Ong has been identified by Clarivate as a Highly Cited Researcher in 2021! Each year, Clarivate identifies the world’s most influential researchers ─ the select few who have been most frequently cited by their peers over the last decade. In 2021, fewer than 6,700, or about 0.1%, of the world’s researchers, in 21 research fields and across multiple fields, have earned this exclusive distinction.

AtomSets – using graph networks as an encoder

AtomSets

Graph networks are an extremely powerful deep learning tool for predicting materials properties. However, a critical weakness is their reliance on large quantities of training data. In this work published in npj Computational Materials, Dr Chi Chen shows that pre-trained MEGNet formation energy models can be effectively used as “encoders” for crystals in what we call the AtomSets framework. The compositional and structural descriptors extracted from graph network deep learning models, combined with standard artificial neural network models, can achieve lower errors than the graph network models at small data limits and other non-deep-learning models at large data limits. AtomSets also transfer better in a simulated materials discovery process where the targeted materials have property values out of the training data limits, require minimal domain knowledge inputs and are free from feature engineering.

Check out this work here.

Using ML to Discover New Materials

BOWSR

Our paper on “Accelerating materials discovery with Bayesian optimization and graph deep learning” has just been published in Materials Today! In our group, we are firm advocates of ML models that utilize structure-based features, because only such models can reliably predict property differences between chemically similar but structurally different materials (e.g., diamond vs graphite). However, a bottleneck remains in that obtaining an input structure today still depends on expensive DFT calculations. Here, we show that Bayesian optimization with an accurate MEGNet energy model can be used to obtain sufficiently good input structures for ML model predictions. We demonstrated the power of this approach by screening 400,000 materials for ultra-incompressibility. Two completely novel materials are realized experimentally by Mingde Qin in Prof Jian Luo’s group at UCSD. This work paves the way to ML-accelerated discovery of new materials with exceptional properties.

Check out this work here.

Dislocation mobility in refractory high-entropy alloys

Our collaborative paper with the Ritchie and Asta groups on “Atomistic simulations of dislocation mobility in refractory high-entropy alloys (RHEAs) and the effect of chemical short-range order” has been published in Nature Communications! RHEAs are designed for high elevated-temperature strength, with both edge and screw dislocations playing an important role in plastic deformation. Using the highly accurate machine learning interatomic potential developed by MAVRL alum Dr Yunxing Zuo, we investigate mechanisms underlying the mobilities of screw and edge dislocations in the bcc MoNbTaW RHEA over a wide temperature range using MD simulations, and how these mechanisms are affected by the presence of short range order. We show that the mobility of edge dislocations is enhanced by SRO, while the rate of double-kink nucleation in the motion of screw dislocations is reduced. We also found a cross-slip locking mechanism for the motion of screws, which provides for extra strengthening for bcc RHEAs.

Check out this work at this link.

Electronic Structure 21 Workshop

Prof Ong gave a talk on “Addressing Errors in Ab Initio Molecular Dynamics Predictions through Machine Learning” at the Electronic Structure 21 Workshop held on Jul 14 2021. In this talk, we discuss the errors that AIMD simulations make in predicting the properties of lithium superionic conductors, which can be traced to the small simulation cell sizes, high temperatures and short simulation times. We then demonstrate how machine learning can be used to construct highly accurate interatomic potentials (ML-IAPs) to enable long time scale, large system simulations of complex materials. In particular, a standardized approach to construct ML-IAPs for lithium superionic conductors such as Li7P3S11, Li3YCl6 and Li0.33La0.56TiO3 (LLTO) is shown. All three superionic conductor solid electrolytes exhibit a transition between Arrhenius regimes are relatively low temperatures due to a change in diffusion dimensionality.

AIMD prediction errors in Lithium Superionic Conductors

Congratulations to Ji Qi on his paper on “Bridging the gap between simulated and experimental ionic conductivities in lithium superionic conductors” published in Materials Today Physics. Part of a “Special Issue on Solid state batteries: materials, characterizations, and understandings”, this is Ji’s first first-author paper. Lithium superionic conductors (LSCs) are of major importance as solid electrolytes for next-generation all-solid-state lithium-ion batteries. However, ab initio molecular dynamics (AIMD) often make wrong predictions of their ionic conductivities due to the short time scales and small cell sizes used. Here, we present a strategy to bridge this gap using machine learning interatomic potentials based on the moment tensor potential (MTP) formalism. We show that the DFT functional used to train the MTPs plays a critical role in the accuracy of the predictions. In particular, the van der Waals optB88 functional yield much more accurate lattice parameters, which in turn leads to accurate prediction of ionic conductivities and activation energies for Li0.33La0.56TiO3, Li3YCl6 and Li7P3S11. Nanosecond NPT MD simulations also reveal that all three lithium superionic conductors undergo a transition between two quasi-linear Arrhenius regimes at relatively low temperatures. This transition can be traced to an increase in the number and diversity of diffusion pathways, in some cases with a change in the dimensionality of diffusion. This work presents not only an approach to develop high accuracy MTPs, but also outlines the diffusion characteristics for LSCs which are otherwise inaccessible through ab initio computation.

Check out the work at this link.

L-edge XANES database

Yiming’s paper on “Database of ab initio L-edge X-ray absorption near edge structure” has just been published in Nature Scientific Data! This work is a collaboration between the Materials Virtual Lab, the Materials Project, Alan Dozier and the groups of Prof John Rehr at the University of Washington and Prof Jordi Cabana at the University of Illinois Chicago. It is a follow-up to our earlier work on a K-edge XANES database, the L-edge XANES database provides instant access to more than 140,000 L-edge spectra for more than 22,000 structures generated using a high-throughput FEFF9 workflow. The L-edge XANES is widely used in the characterization of transition metal compounds. The data is available through the Materials Project XAS app and addresses a critical need for L-edge XANES spectra among the research community. The journal article is available at this link.

Halide Migration in Lead Halide Perovskites

Manas just published his first paper on “Correlated Octahedral Rotation and Organic Cation Reorientation Assist Halide Ion Migration in Lead Halide Perovskites” in Chemistry of Materials! Halide ion migration is one of the main contributors to instability and hysteresis in lead halide perovskite (LHP) solar cells. In this collaborative work with the Fenning group, we elucidate the effect of octahedral rotation and organic cation rotation on halide ion migration in APbBr3 (A = Cs or methylammonium/MA) LHPs. While both effects lower halide migration barriers, organic cation rotation plays a much bigger role in hybrid organic-inorganic LHPs, which can be linked to changes in H bonding during the halide migration process. We suggest that “locking” the organic cation via chemical and processing means can help mitigate halide migration-induced instability and reduced hysteresis in LHP solar cells.

Check out the work at this link.