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Lithium–Sulfur Batteries Based on Nitrogen-Doped Carbon and an Ionic-Liquid Electrolyte

Authors

  • Dr. Xiao-Guang Sun,

    Corresponding author
    1. Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 (USA)
    • Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 (USA)
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  • Dr. Xiqing Wang,

    1. Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 (USA)
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  • Dr. Richard T. Mayes,

    1. Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 (USA)
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  • Prof. Sheng Dai

    Corresponding author
    1. Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 (USA)
    2. Department of Chemistry, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996 (USA)
    • Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, P.O. Box 2008, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 (USA)
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Abstract

Nitrogen-doped mesoporous carbon (NC) and sulfur were used to prepare an NC/S composite cathode, which was evaluated in an ionic-liquid electrolyte of 0.5 M lithium bis(trifluoromethane sulfonyl)imide (LiTFSI) in methylpropylpyrrolidinium bis(trifluoromethane sulfonyl)imide ([MPPY][TFSI]) by cyclic voltammetry (CV), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and cycle testing. To facilitate the comparison, a C/S composite based on activated carbon (AC) without nitrogen doping was also fabricated under the same conditions. Compared with the AC/S composite, the NC/S composite showed enhanced activity toward sulfur reduction, as evidenced by the lower onset sulfur reduction potential, higher redox current density in the CV test, and faster charge-transfer kinetics, as indicated by EIS measurements. At room temperature under a current density of 84 mA g−1 (C/20), the battery based on the NC/S composite exhibited a higher discharge potential and an initial capacity of 1420 mAh g−1, whereas the battery based on the AC/S composite showed a lower discharge potential and an initial capacity of 1120 mAh g−1. Both batteries showed similar capacity fading with cycling due to the intrinsic polysulfide solubility and the polysulfide shuttle mechanism; capacity fading can be improved by further cathode modification.

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