Defect-driven anomalous transport in fast-ion conducting solid electrolytes

Plotting Mg AI at destinations and at hop origin

Solid-state ionic conduction is a key enabler of electrochemical energy storage and conversion.  The mechanistic connections between material processing, defect chemistry, transport dynamics and practical performance are of considerable importance but remain incomplete.

Here*, inspired by studies of fluids and biophysical systems, we re-examine anomalous diffusion in the iconic two-dimensional fast-ion conductors and aluminas.  Using large scale simulations, we reproduce the frequency dependence of alternating-current ionic conductivity data.  We show how the distribution of charge-compensating defects, modulated by processing, drives static and dynamic disorder and leads to persistent subdiffusive ion transport at macroscopic timescales.  

We deconvolute the effects of repulsions between mobile ions, the attraction between the mobile ions and charge-compensating defects, and geometric crowding on ionic conductivity.  Finally, our characterisation of memory effects in transport connects atomistic defect chemistry to macroscopic performance with minimal assumptions and enables mechanism-driven 'atoms-to-device' optimisation of fast-ion conductors.


*'Defect-driven anomalous transport in fast-ion conducting solid electrolytes'.