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Higher Chemical Stability of α-Li3N than β-Li3N in Atmosphere


Lithium nitride (Li3N), which generally consists of α-Li3N and β-Li3N, is a promising material for catalysis and energy applications. It is generally recognized that Li3N can be easily oxidized by air at room temperature. However, herein, it was found that O2 can not oxidize Li3N even at 170 °C. In contrast, H2O in atmosphere can cause the degradation of Li3N due to its reaction with H2O to LiOH, followed by further reaction with CO2 to Li2CO3 at room temperature. Furthermore, it was revealed that H2O reacted with β-Li3N much faster than α-Li3N, indicating that α-Li3N is more stable than β-Li3N in atmosphere.

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This work was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF-CBET-0931587). Hu also thanks Charles and Carroll McArthur for their great support.

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Correspondence to Yun Hang Hu.

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Zhang, J., Hu, Y.H. Higher Chemical Stability of α-Li3N than β-Li3N in Atmosphere. Top Catal 58, 386–390 (2015).

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  • α-Li3N
  • β-Li3N
  • Stability
  • H2O
  • CO2
  • XRD
  • UV–Vis absorption
  • FT-IR