Structure and Properties of Cs7(H4PO4)(H2PO4)8: A New Superprotonic Solid Acid Featuring the Unusual Polycation (H4PO4)+

Louis S. Wang, Sawankumar V. Patel, Sheel S. Sanghvi, Yan Yan Hu, Sossina M. Haile*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the discovery of a new superprotonic compound, Cs7(H4PO4)(H2PO4)8, or CPP, which forms at elevated temperatures from the reaction of CsH2PO4 and CsH5(PO4)2. The structure, solved using high-temperature single-crystal X-ray diffraction and confirmed by high-temperature 31P NMR spectroscopy, crystallizes in space group Pm3¯ n and has a lattice constant of 20.1994(9) Å at 130 °C. The unit cell resembles a 4 × 4 × 4 superstructure of superprotonic CsH2PO4, but features an extraordinary chemical moiety, rotationally disordered H4PO4+ cations, which periodically occupy one of every eight cation sites. The influence of this remarkable cation on the structure, thermodynamics, and proton transport properties of the CPP phase is discussed. Notably, CPP forms at a temperature of 90 °C, much lower than the superprotonic transition temperature of 228 °C of CsH2PO4, and the compound does not appear to have an ordered, low-temperature form. Under nominally dry conditions, the material is stable against dehydration to ∼151 °C, and this results in a particularly wide region of stability of a superprotonic material in the absence of active humidification. The conductivity of Cs7(H4PO4)(H2PO4)8 is moderate, 5.8 × 10-4 S cm-1 at 140 °C, but appears nevertheless facilitated by polyanion (H2PO4-) group reorientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19992-20001
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 25 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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