Solid electrolytes that are chemically stable and have a high ionic conductivity would dramatically enhance the safety and operating lifespan of rechargeable lithium batteries. Here, we apply a multi-technique approach to the Li-ion conducting system (1–z)Li4SiO4–(z)Li3PO4 with the aim of developing a solid electrolyte with enhanced ionic conductivity. Previously unidentified superstructure and immiscibility features in high-purity samples are characterized by X-ray and neutron diffraction across a range of compositions (z = 0.0–1.0). Ionic conductivities from AC impedance measurements and large-scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are in good agreement, showing very low values in the parent phases (Li4SiO4 and Li3PO4) but orders of magnitude higher conductivities (10–3 S/cm at 573 K) in the mixed compositions. The MD simulations reveal new mechanistic insights into the mixed Si/P compositions in which Li-ion conduction occurs through 3D pathways and a cooperative interstitial mechanism; such correlated motion is a key factor in promoting high ionic conductivity. Solid-state 6Li, 7Li, and 31P NMR experiments reveal enhanced local Li-ion dynamics and atomic disorder in the solid solutions, which are correlated to the ionic diffusivity. These unique insights will be valuable in developing strategies to optimize the ionic conductivity in this system and to identify next-generation solid electrolytes.
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- Department of Chemistry - Professor
- Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT) - Professor
- Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Person: Research & Teaching