Electrides are an emerging class of materials with highly localized electrons in the interstices of a crystal that behave as anions. The presence of these unusual interstitial quasi-atom (ISQ) electrons leads to interesting physical and chemical properties and wide potential applications for this new class of materials. Crystal defects often have a crucial influence on the properties of materials. Introducing impurities has been proved to be an effective approach to improve the properties of a material and to expand its applications. However, the interactions between the anionic ISQs and the crystal defects in electrides are yet unknown. Here, dense fcc-Li was employed as an archetype to explore the interplay between anionic ISQs and interstitial impurity atoms in this electride. This work reveals strong coupling among the interstitial impurity atoms, the ISQs, and the matrix Li atoms near to the defects. This complex interplay and interaction mainly manifest as the unexpected tetrahedral interstitial occupation of impurity atoms and the enhancement of electron localization in the interstices. Moreover, the Be impurity occupying the octahedral interstice shows the highest negative charge state (Be8-) discovered thus far. These results demonstrate the rich chemistry and physics of this emerging material and provide a new basis for enriching their variants for a wide range of applications.
- dense lithium
- electron localization
- interstitial quasi-atom (ISQ)
- point defects