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Low dimensional nanostructures of fast ion conducting lithium nitride

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

  • Nuria Tapia-Ruiz
  • Alexandra Gordon
  • Catherine Jewell
  • Hannah Edwards
  • Charles Dunnill
  • James Blackman
  • Colin Snape
  • Paul Brown
  • Ian MacLaren
  • Matteo Baldoni
  • Elena Besley
  • Jeremy Titman
  • Duncan Gregory
Article number4492
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>8/09/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Nature Communications
Number of pages8
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


As the only stable binary compound formed between an alkali metal and nitrogen, lithium nitride possesses remarkable properties and is a model material for energy applications involving the transport of lithium ions. Following a materials design principle drawn from broad structural analogies to hexagonal graphene and boron nitride, we demonstrate that such low dimensional structures can also be formed from an s-block element and nitrogen. Both one- and two-dimensional nanostructures of lithium nitride, Li3N, can be grown despite the absence of an equivalent van der Waals gap. Lithium-ion diffusion is enhanced compared to the bulk compound, yielding materials with exceptional ionic mobility. Li3N demonstrates the conceptual assembly of ionic inorganic nanostructures from monolayers without the requirement of a van der Waals gap. Computational studies reveal an electronic structure mediated by the number of Li-N layers, with a transition from a bulk narrow-bandgap semiconductor to a metal at the nanoscale.