Among chalcogenide semiconductors for thermoelectric applications, alkali-metal bismuth compounds occur in many complex compositions favorable for high performance. Although LiBi3S5 had been announced in 1977, the potential 1D lithium-ion conductor has hitherto eluded selective synthesis and structure determination. In this study, we present a solid-state route to phase-pure LiBi3S5 powder starting from LiBiS2 and Bi2S3. Neutron diffractograms and lithium NMR spectra reveal its crystal structure to be a cation-disordered variety of the AgBi3S5 type (synthetic pavonite; monoclinic, C2/m). Topological analyses and lithium NMR relaxometry suggest that correlated lithium-ion diffusion with activation energies up to 0.66(2) eV occurs along the channels in b direction including tetrahedral voids. Because of cation disorder, immobile bismuth(III) ions clog these pathways, making LiBi3S5 a moderate to poor ionic conductor. The synthesis route reported is nonetheless promising for new lithium bismuth sulfides with, possibly ordered, structure types of the pavonite homologous series.
Nakhal, S., Wiedemann, D., Stanje, B., Dolotko, O., Wilkening, M., & Lerch, M. (2016). LiBi3S5—A lithium bismuth sulfide with strong cation disorder. Journal of solid state chemistry, 60 - 67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jssc.2016.03.010