A First-Principles Investigation of Lithium and Sodium Ion Diffusion in C60 Molecular Solids

Rachel Gorelik, Abu Asaduzzaman, Venkateswara Rao Manga, Abhishek Thakur, Krishna Muralidharan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


C60-based molecular solids have shown promise as important constituents in electrode materials as well as for providing interfacial stability for solid state electrolytes in alkali ion batteries. At room temperature, the solid state C60 crystal is characterized by a face-centered cubic (FCC) structure, with large interstitial voids, which can accommodate and promote ion transport. In this regard, using density functional theory (DFT), we examined the diffusion of lithium and sodium ions within the FCC C60 lattice. The underlying diffusion mechanism for both ions consisted of motion between interstitial tetrahedral and octahedral voids within the C60 lattice. Multiple energy minimum sites were located within each interstitial void, and the diffusion of the ions involved jumps within voids as well as between voids. The rate-limiting step for ion diffusion corresponded to the motion between the tetrahedral and octahedral voids, and the respective activation barriers were determined to be 0.34 eV for lithium and 0.28 eV for sodium. Importantly, the evaluated activation barriers compare favorably with those of currently used solid state electrolytes and electrode materials in alkali ion batteries. These calculations provide insights into the diffusion mechanisms of alkali ions in C60 lattices and should enable utilizing C60 as important components for alkali-ion batteries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4259-4266
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 10 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Energy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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