Effective Trapping of Lithium Polysulfides Using a Functionalized Carbon Nanotube-Coated Separator for Lithium-Sulfur Cells with Enhanced Cycling Stability

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Abstract

The critical issues that hinder the practical applications of lithium-sulfur batteries, such as dissolution and migration of lithium polysulfides, poor electronic conductivity of sulfur and its discharge products, and low loading of sulfur, have been addressed by designing a functional separator modified using hydroxyl-functionalized carbon nanotubes (CNTOH). Density functional theory calculations and experimental results demonstrate that the hydroxyl groups in the CNTOH provoked strong interaction with lithium polysulfides and resulted in effective trapping of lithium polysulfides within the sulfur cathode side. The reduction in migration of lithium polysulfides to the lithium anode resulted in enhanced stability of the lithium electrode. The conductive nature of CNTOH also aided to efficiently reutilize the adsorbed reaction intermediates for subsequent cycling. As a result, the lithium-sulfur cell assembled with a functional separator exhibited a high initial discharge capacity of 1056 mAh g-1 (corresponding to an areal capacity of 3.2 mAh cm-2) with a capacity fading rate of 0.11% per cycle over 400 cycles at 0.5 C rate.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0.1021/acsami.7b10641
Pages (from-to)38445-38454
Number of pages10
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Volume9
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct

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