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Crystal Structures of Two Titanium Phosphate-Based Proton Conductors: Ab Initio Structure Solution and Materials Properties

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Petersen,  Hilke
Research Group Weidenthaler, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Stegmann,  Niklas
Research Group Schmidt, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Zibrowius,  Bodo
Service Department Farès (NMR), Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Schmidt,  Wolfgang
Research Group Schmidt, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Weidenthaler,  Claudia
Research Group Weidenthaler, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Petersen, H., Stegmann, N., Fischer, M., Zibrowius, B., Radev, I., Philippi, W., et al. (2022). Crystal Structures of Two Titanium Phosphate-Based Proton Conductors: Ab Initio Structure Solution and Materials Properties. Inorganic Chemistry, 61(5), 2379-2390. doi:10.1021/acs.inorgchem.1c02613.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-27E8-5
Abstract
Transition-metal phosphates show a wide range of chemical compositions, variations of the valence states, and crystal structures. They are commercially used as solid-state catalysts, cathode materials in rechargeable batteries, or potential candidates for proton-exchange membranes in fuel cells. Here, we report on the successful ab initio structure determination of two novel titanium pyrophosphates, Ti(III)p and Ti(IV)p, from powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) data. The low-symmetry space groups P21/c for Ti(III)p and P1̅ for Ti(IV)p required the combination of spectroscopic and diffraction techniques for structure determination. In Ti(III)p, trivalent titanium ions occupy the center of TiO6 polyhedra, coordinated by five pyrophosphate groups, one of them as a bidentate ligand. This secondary coordination causes the formation of one-dimensional six-membered ring channels with a diameter dmax of 3.93(2) Å, which is stabilized by NH4+ ions. Annealing Ti(III)p in inert atmospheres results in the formation of a new compound, denoted as Ti(IV)p. The structure of this compound shows a similar three-dimensional framework consisting of [PO4]3-tetrahedra and TiIV+O6 octahedra and an empty one-dimensional channel with a diameter dmax of 5.07(1) Å. The in situ PXRD of the transformation of Ti(III)p to Ti(IV)p reveals a two-step mechanism, i.e., the decomposition of NH4+ ions in a first step and subsequent structure relaxation. The specific proton conductivity and activation energy of the proton migration of Ti(III)p, governed by the Grotthus mechanism, belong to the highest and lowest, respectively, ever reported for this class of materials, which reveals its potential application in electrochemical devices like fuel cells and water electrolyzers in the intermediate temperature range.