Role of divalent cation (Ba) substitution in the Li+ ion conductor LiTi2(PO4)3: a molecular dynamics study†
The derivatives of LiTi2(PO4)3 are promising electrolytes for solid-state batteries. An extensive molecular dynamics study is performed employing a refined set of potential parameters to understand the influence of Ba substitution on Li+ ion conductivity in Bax/2Li1−xTi2(PO4)3 (0.0 ≤ x ≤ 0.83). The refined set of potential parameters reveals the structural and dynamical properties of Bax/2Li1−xTi2(PO4)3 which are consistent with experimental results. In the presence of Ba2+, the system endures a persistent competition between the generation of vacant Li-sites and blocking of Li+ ion paths. The diffusivity of Li+ ions enhances with x and increases one order of magnitude higher at x = 0.67, where the creation of vacant Li-sites mainly drives the diffusion. This trend is similar to the experimental report. However, for x > 0.67 compositions, the blocking of the Li+ ion path dominates in the presence of immobile Ba2+ ions, resulting in a reduction of Li+ ion diffusion. The present study also proposes an ordered substitution of Ba2+ ions at crystallographically identified Li1-sites, where an extra Li-site generation is identified at higher compositions. In this case, the vacancy strongly dominates over Li+ ion path blocking, resulting in the possibility to achieve even higher Li+ ion diffusion. The creation of extra Li-sites and mechanism of Li+-ion transport are studied systematically with varying compositions. Further insight into Li+ ion transport is gained by constructing a three-dimensional density map and determining the free energy barrier and clustering of Li+ ion probability density. And the factors affecting the cation diffusion are also systematically investigated.