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Lithium nitride (li3n) is a metal nitrogen compound with a purple or red crystalline structure and a light green luster in reflected and ruby hue in transmitted light. It has strong reactivity, particularly at high temperatures and can corrode iron, nickel, copper, platinum, quartz and ceramics. Finely powdered lithium nitride is a dangerous explosive and must be handled in an inert atmosphere.
In the early 20th century research began into the reaction of lithium nitride with hydrogen. Dafert and Miklauz discovered that lithium nitride generates hydrogen nitride at a portion at 220-250 deg C in the presence of water. This substance then decomposes into a composition whose formula is “li3nH4″ and hydrogen at a higher temperature, more than 700 deg C. Ruff and Georges later discovered that this composition is “Li2NH2+ LiH” and that it is a useful catalyst in the Solvothermal Method.
The crystal structure of li3n consists of parallel trigonal and hexagonal planes. Each plane has a number of nitrogen atoms, and one plane also has six Li atoms around a nitrogen atom (Li2N). Li ions can move between these planes. The motion of these ions is governed by the interaction between these two lithium sites, which can be studied with 6/7Li solid state NMR. The 7Li NMR data suggest Arrhenius behavior for the diffusion of the Li ions in Li2N planes and a slower interlayer diffusion of Li1 species.
Researchers have found that the li3n layer in a solid-state polymer electrolyte can buffer the concentration of Li+ ions and homogenize deposition. Consequently, this material is a promising candidate for interface engineering of solid-state LIBs.