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Ta-doped Li2ZnTi3O8 (LZTO) spheres (Li2ZnTi3-xTaxO8; where x is the synthetic
chemical input, x = 0, 0.03, 0.05, 0.07) are synthesized via solid-state reaction using
mesoporous TiO2 spheres as the self-template. The majority of Ta5+ ions are
uniformly doped into crystal lattices of LZTO through the Ti4Ta substitution,
and the rest forms the piezoelectric LiTaO3 secondary phase on the surface, as
confirmed by X-ray diffraction refinement, Raman spectroscopy, density functional
theory, and electronmicroscopy. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
demonstrates that the Ta5+ doping creates rapid electronic transportation channels
for high Li+ ion diffusion kinetics; however, the LiTaO3 surface coating is
beneficial to improve the electronic conductivity. At the optimal x = 0.05,
Li2ZnTi3-xTaxO8 spheres exhibit a reversible capacity of 90.2 mAh/g after 2000
cycles with a high coulombic efficiency of z100% at 5.0 A/g, thus enabling a
promising anode material for lithium-ion batteries with high power and energy
densities.

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