Synthetic design of crystalline inorganic chalcogenides exhibiting fast-ion conductivity


Natural porous solids such as zeolites are invariably formed with inorganic cations such as Na+ and K+ (refs 1, 2). However, current research on new porous materials is mainly focused on the use of organic species as either structure-directing or structure-building units; purely inorganic systems have received relatively little attention in exploratory synthetic work3,4,5,6,7,8,9. Here we report the synthesis of a series of three-dimensional sulphides and selenides containing highly mobile alkali metal cations as charge-balancing extra-framework cations. Such crystalline inorganic chalcogenides integrate zeolite-like architecture with high anionic framework polarizability and high concentrations of mobile cations. Such structural features are particularly desirable for the development of fast-ion conductors10. These materials demonstrate high ionic conductivity (up to 1.8 × 10-2 ohm-1 cm-1) at room temperature and moderate to high humidity. This synthetic methodology, together with novel structural, physical and chemical properties, may lead to the development of new microporous and open-framework materials with potential applications in areas such as batteries, fuel cells, electrochemical sensors and photocatalysis.

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Figure 1: The structural diagrams of the inorganic chalcogenide frameworks.
Figure 2
Figure 3: The dependence of the ionic conductivity on the relative humidity for ICF-5 CuInS-Na.
Figure 4: The dependence of the ionic conductivity on the relative humidity for ICF-21 InSe-Na.
Figure 5: The a.c. impedance plot of ICF-22 InS-Li at 24.0 °C under 31.7% relative humidity.


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We acknowledge the support of this work by the NSF. We also thank Y. Yan and his group for assistance with impedance measurements.

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Correspondence to Pingyun Feng.

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Zheng, N., Bu, X. & Feng, P. Synthetic design of crystalline inorganic chalcogenides exhibiting fast-ion conductivity. Nature 426, 428–432 (2003).

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