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Combining Superionic Conduction and Favorable Decomposition Products in the Crystalline Lithium−Boron−Sulfur System: A New Mechanism for Stabilizing Solid Li-Ion Electrolytes

ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

We report a solid-state Li-ion electrolyte predicted to exhibit simultaneously fast ionic conductivity, wide electrochemical stability, low cost, and low mass density. We report exceptional density functional theory (DFT)-based room-temperature single-crystal ionic conductivity values for two phases within the crystalline lithium–boron–sulfur (Li–B–S) system: 62 (+9, −2) mS cm–1 in Li5B7S13 and 80 (−56, −41) mS cm–1 in Li9B19S33. We report significant ionic conductivity values for two additional phases: between 0.0056 and 0.16 mS/cm –1 in Li2B2S5 and between 0.0031 and 9.7 mS cm–1 in Li3BS3 depending on the room-temperature extrapolation scheme used. To our knowledge, our prediction gives Li9B19S33 and Li5B7S13 the second and third highest reported DFT-computed single-crystal ionic conductivities of any crystalline material. We compute the thermodynamic electrochemical stability window widths of these materials to be 0.50 V for Li5B7S13, 0.16 V for Li2B2S5, 0.45 V for Li3BS3, and 0.60 V for Li9B19S33. Individually, these materials exhibit similar or better ionic conductivity and electrochemical stability than the best-known sulfide-based solid-state Li-ion electrolyte materials, including Li10GeP2S12 (LGPS). However, we predict that electrolyte materials synthesized from a range of compositions in the Li–B–S system may exhibit even wider thermodynamic electrochemical stability windows of 0.63 V and possibly as high as 3 V or greater. The Li–B–S system also has a low elemental cost of approximately 0.05 USD/m2 per 10 μm thickness, which is significantly lower than that of germanium-containing LGPS, and a comparable mass density below 2 g/cm3. These fast-conducting phases were initially brought to our attention by a machine learning-based approach to screen over 12,000 solid electrolyte candidates, and the evidence provided here represents an inspiring success for this model.