Super-ionic solids, which exhibit ion mobilities as high as those in liquids or molten salts, have been employed as solid-state electrolytes in batteries, improved thermoelectrics and fast-ion conductors in super-capacitors and fuel cells. Fast-ion transport in many of these solids is supported by a disordered, 'liquid-like' sub-lattice of cations mobile within a rigid anionic sub-lattice, often achieved at high temperatures or pressures via a phase transition. Here we show that ultrasmall clusters of copper selenide exhibit a disordered cationic sub-lattice under ambient conditions unlike larger nanocrystals, where Cu+ ions and vacancies form an ordered super-structure similar to the bulk solid. The clusters exhibit an unusual cationic sub-lattice arrangement wherein octahedral sites, which serve as bridges for cation migration, are stabilized by compressive strain. The room-temperature liquid-like nature of the Cu+ sub-lattice combined with the actively tunable plasmonic properties of the Cu2 Se clusters make them suitable as fast electro-optic switches.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)