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A lithium superionic conductor

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Abstract

Batteries are a key technology in modern society1,2. They are used to power electric and hybrid electric vehicles and to store wind and solar energy in smart grids. Electrochemical devices with high energy and power densities can currently be powered only by batteries with organic liquid electrolytes. However, such batteries require relatively stringent safety precautions, making large-scale systems very complicated and expensive. The application of solid electrolytes is currently limited because they attain practically useful conductivities (10−2 S cm−1) only at 50–80 °C, which is one order of magnitude lower than those of organic liquid electrolytes3,4,5,6,7,8. Here, we report a lithium superionic conductor, Li10GeP2S12 that has a new three-dimensional framework structure. It exhibits an extremely high lithium ionic conductivity of 12 mS cm−1 at room temperature. This represents the highest conductivity achieved in a solid electrolyte, exceeding even those of liquid organic electrolytes. This new solid-state battery electrolyte has many advantages in terms of device fabrication (facile shaping, patterning and integration), stability (non-volatile), safety (non-explosive) and excellent electrochemical properties (high conductivity and wide potential window)9,10,11.

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Figure 1: Lithium-ion conductivity of Li10GeP2S12.
Figure 2: Crystal structure of Li10GeP2S12.
Figure 3: Thermal evolution of ionic conductivity of the new Li10GeP2S12 phase, together with those of other lithium solid electrolytes, organic liquid electrolytes, polymer electrolytes, ionic liquids and gel electrolytes3,4,5,6,7,8,13,14,15,16,20,22.
Figure 4: Charge–discharge curves of an all-solid-state battery consisting of a LiCoO2 cathode, a Li10GeP2S12 electrolyte and an In metal anode.

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Acknowledgements

This work was partially supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The synchrotron and neutron radiation experiments were carried out as projects approved by the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI) (proposal No 2010A1584) and the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC) and Institute of Materials Structure Science (proposal No 2009B0039 and No. 2010A0060), respectively.

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N.K. and Y.Y. conceived the synthesis experiments and the electrochemical characterization. K.H., M.Y. and T.K. carried out the structural analysis. M.H. and R.K. analysed the data and wrote the manuscript. Y.K., S.H. and K.K. analysed the electrochemical data. A.M. carried out the synchrotron X-ray experiments.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ryoji Kanno.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Kamaya, N., Homma, K., Yamakawa, Y. et al. A lithium superionic conductor. Nature Mater 10, 682–686 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat3066

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