Unlocking the potential of open-tunnel oxides: DFT-guided design and machine learning-enhanced discovery for next-generation industry-scale battery technologies

Joy Datta, Nikhil Koratkar, Dibakar Datta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are ubiquitous in everyday applications. However, lithium (Li) is a limited resource on the planet and, therefore, not sustainable. As an alternative to lithium, earth-abundant and cheaper multivalent metals such as aluminum (Al) and calcium (Ca) have been actively researched in battery systems. However, finding suitable intercalation hosts for multivalent-ion batteries is urgently needed. Open-tunneled oxides represent a specific category of microparticles distinguished by the presence of integrated one-dimensional channels or nanopores. This work focuses on two promising open-tunnel oxides: niobium tungsten oxide (NTO) and molybdenum vanadium oxide (MoVO). The MoVO structure can accommodate a larger number of multivalent ions than NTO due to its larger surface area and different shapes. Specifically, the MoVO structure can adsorb Ca, Li, and Al ions with adsorption potentials ranging from around 4 to 5 eV. However, the adsorption potential for hexagonal channels of Al ions drops to 1.73 eV due to the limited channel area. The NTO structure exhibits an insertion/adsorption potential of 4.4 eV, 3.4 eV, and 0.9 eV for one Li, Ca, and Al, respectively. Generally, Ca ions are more readily adsorbed than Al ions in both MoVO and NTO structures. Bader charge analysis and charge density plots reveal the role of charge transfer and ion size in the insertion of multivalent ions such as Ca and Al into MoVO and NTO systems. Exploring open-tunnel oxide materials for battery applications is hindered by vast compositional possibilities. The execution of experimental trials and quantum-based simulations is not viable for addressing the challenge of locating a specific item within a large and complex set of possibilities. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct structural stability testing to identify viable combinations with sufficient pore topologies. Data mining and machine learning techniques are employed to discover innovative transition metal oxide materials. This study compares two machine learning algorithms, one utilizing descriptors and the other employing graphs to predict the synthesizability of new materials inside a laboratory setting. The outcomes of this study offer valuable insights into the exploration of alternative naturally occurring multiscale particles that exhibit promising potential for the utilization of multivalent ions in battery-related contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)968-982
Number of pages15
JournalEnergy Advances
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 25 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Energy (miscellaneous)


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