Interdisciplinary Studies to Characterise and Optimise Novel Apatite-Type Fast-Ion Conductors

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Chemistry


The proposed research will build upon previous success with a combined programme of experimental and computational studies of novel apatite-type ionic conductors, which are attracting considerable worldwide attention. Contrary to the traditional fluorite and perovskite-type oxide ion conductors, which conduct via a vacancy mechanism, the current evidence indicates that these apatite systems conduct via oxide interstitials, as first reported in our initial modelling study of the Si-based systems. This interdisciplinary project will extend our internationally leading research through new adventurous studies of novel Ge-containing apatite materials, which offer higher ionic conductivities, but have been less widely investigated. Evaluation of their true potential therefore requires immediate study. This powerful combination of materials synthesis and characterization (at Surrey), NMR (Warwick) and computer modelling (Bath) will provide deeper insight into these exciting materials for potential technological applications (such as solid oxide fuel cells). Our considerable experience and past success in ion transport studies places us in a strong position to address key issues. In many instances, our project will be the first investigation of this type.


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Orera A (2011) Apatite germanates doped with tungsten: synthesis, structure, and conductivity. in Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003)

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Panchmatia P (2010) Protonic defects and water incorporation in Si and Ge-based apatite ionic conductors in Journal of Materials Chemistry

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/F015178/1 08/01/2008 31/12/2008 £187,695
EP/F015178/2 Transfer EP/F015178/1 08/01/2009 07/02/2010 £107,780
Description Traditionally research on materials showing high levels of ionic conduction has focused on structures where ion vacancies can be introduced. This work has highlighted that materials with structures that can accomodate additional ions in intermediate sites can exhibit very high conductivities of these ions. Such systems can potentially be used in a range of applications, e.g. batteries, fuel cells
Exploitation Route The work highlights the need to investigate alternative structure types for potential battery/fuel cell applications
Sectors Energy

Description The research performed has guided others in this area. It has highlighted the potential of materials with interstitial ions in terms of ionic conduction. Thus other researchers have been inspired to investigate related structures that can accomodate such defects
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Energy
Impact Types Societal