Lithium Thiostannate Spinels: Air-Stable Cubic Semiconductors

Michael A. Quintero, Shiqiang Hao, Sawankumar V. Patel, Jin Ke Bao, Xiuquan Zhou, Yan Yan Hu, Chris Wolverton, Mercouri G. Kanatzidis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Lithium chalcogenide materials have been studied less than other alkali metal analogs and are of interest as ion conductors and semiconductors capable of thermal neutron detection. Herein, we describe the structural, thermal, magnetic, electronic, and ionic properties of a new family of cubic lithium thiospinels Li2MSn3S8 (M = Mg, Fe, Mn, Ni, Co) and Li1.66CuSn3.33S8. All compounds crystallize in the Fd3¯ m space group and exhibit site occupancy disorder with Sn and M on the octahedral site for M = Mg, Fe, Mn, Ni, Co. The Li1.66CuSn3.33S8 compound also exhibits occupancy disorder on the tetrahedral sites between Li and Cu, as well as on the octahedral sites between Li and Sn. We demonstrate the ability to tune the physical properties of the compounds by changing their composition. By tuning the identity of the transition metal in the structure, the optical band gaps can vary between 0.91(2) and 2.19(2) eV, and electrical resistivities between 2.8 × 103 ω-cm and 2.2 × 107ω-cm can be achieved. Density functional theory calculations for Li2MgSn3S8 and Li1.66CuSn3.33S8 suggest that both materials have indirect band gaps and significantly dispersive conduction bands. A bandwidth dispersion of 0.75 and 0.70 eV along the L → M direction in the conduction band are predicted for Li2MgSn3S8 and Li1.66CuSn3.33S8, respectively, with an electron effective mass of 0.49 and 0.55 me at the L point. The hole effective mass in the valence band is calculated to be 1.25 me at the M point and 0.75 me at the L point for Li2MgSn3S8 and Li1.66CuSn3.33S8, respectively. The ionic/electronic conductivity of each compound was determined using AC electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2080-2089
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 23 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Chemistry


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