Low-temperature densification of Al-doped Li7La3Zr2O12: a reliable and controllable synthesis of fast-ion conducting garnets†
The application of Li7La3Zr2O12 as a Li+ solid electrolyte is hampered by the lack of a reliable procedure to obtain and densify the fast-ion conducting cubic garnet polymorph. Dense cubic Li7La3Zr2O12-type phases are typically formed as a result of Al-incorporation in an unreliable reaction with the alumina crucible at elevated temperatures of up to 1230 °C. High Al3+-incorporation levels are also believed to hinder the three-dimensional movement of Li+ in these materials. Here, a new, facile hybrid sol–gel solid-state approach has been developed in order to accomplish reliable and controllable synthesis of these phases with low Al-incorporation levels. In this procedure, sol–gel processed solid precursors of Li7La3Zr2O12 and Al2O3 nanosheets are simply mixed using a pestle and mortar and allowed to react at 1100 °C for 3 h to produce dense cubic phases. Fast-ion conducting Al-doped Li7La3Zr2O12 phases with the lowest reported Al3+-content (∼0.12 mol per formula unit), total conductivities of ∼3 × 10−4 S cm−1, bulk conductivities up to 0.6 mS and ion conduction activation energies as low as 0.27 eV, have been successfully achieved. The ease of lithium diffusion in these materials is attributed to the formation of dense cubic phases with low Al3+ dopant ratios. This approach is applicable to Li7−xLa3Zr2−xTaxO12 phases and opens up a new synthetic avenue to Li7La3Zr2O12-type materials with greater control over resulting characteristics for energy storage applications.
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