Analysis of Diffusion in Solid-State Electrolytes through MD Simulations, Improvement of the Li-Ion Conductivity in β‑Li3PS4 asan Example

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Molecular dynamics simulations are a powerful tool to study diffusion processes in battery electrolyte andelectrode materials. From molecular dynamics simulations, manyproperties relevant to diffusion can be obtained, including the
diffusion path, amplitude of vibrations, jump rates, radial distribution functions, and collective diffusion processes. Hereit is shown how the activation energies of different jumps and theattempt frequency can be obtained from a single moleculardynamics simulation. These detailed diffusion properties provide
a thorough understanding of diffusion in solid electrolytes, andprovide direction for the design of improved solid electrolytematerials. The presently developed analysis methodology isapplied to DFT MD simulations of Li-ion diffusion in β-Li3PS4.The methodology presented is generally applicable to diffusion in crystalline materials and facilitates the analysis of moleculardynamics simulations. The code used for the analysis is freely available at: The results on β−Li3PS4 demonstrate that jumps between bc planes limit the conductivity of this important class of solid electrolyte materials. The simulations indicate that the rate-limiting jump process can be accelerated significantly by adding Li interstitials or Li vacancies, promoting three-dimensional diffusion, which results in increased macroscopic Li-iondiffusivity. Li vacancies can be introduced through Br doping, which is predicted to result in an order of magnitude larger Li-ionconductivity in β−Li3PS4. Furthermore, the present simulations rationalize the improved Li-ion diffusivity upon O dopingthrough the change in Li distribution in the crystal. Thus, it is demonstrated how a thorough understanding of diffusion, based on thorough analysis of MD simulations, helps to gain insight and develop strategies to improve the ionic conductivity of solid electrolytes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3230-3242
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • attempt frequency β-Li3PS4
  • diffusion
  • jump processes
  • molecular dynamics
  • solid-state electrolytes
  • β-Li3PS4


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  • Simulations of electrode & solid electrolyte materials

    de Klerk, N., 2019, 168 p.

    Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

    Open Access
    210 Downloads (Pure)

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