Post-Doc, Jeffrey Smith and Professor Don Siegel have a paper titled, "Low-temperature paddlewheel effect in glassy solid electrolytes," published in Nature Communications. Read the full paper here.
Abstract: Glasses are promising electrolytes for use in solid-state batteries. Nevertheless, due to their amorphous structure, the mechanisms that underlie their ionic conductivity remain poorly understood. Here, ab initio molecular dynamics is used to characterize migration processes in the prototype glass, 75Li2S–25P2S5. Lithium migration occurs via a mechanism that combines concerted motion of lithium ions with large, quasi-permanent reorientations of PS43− anions. This latter effect, known as the ‘paddlewheel’ mechanism, is typically observed in high-temperature crystalline polymorphs. In contrast to the behavior of crystalline materials, in the glass paddlewheel dynamics contribute to Lithium-ion mobility at room temperature. Paddlewheel contributions are confirmed by characterizing spatial, temporal, vibrational, and energetic correlations with Lithium motion. Furthermore, the dynamics in the glass differ from those in the stable crystalline analogue, γ-Li3PS4, where anion reorientations are negligible and ion mobility is reduced. These data imply that glasses containing complex anions, and in which covalent network formation is minimized, may exhibit paddlewheel dynamics at low temperature. Consequently, these systems may be fertile ground in the search for new solid electrolytes.