Research (Jan 2020)

Selective Adsorption and Electrocatalysis of Polysulfides through Hexatomic Nickel Clusters Embedded in N-Doped Graphene toward High-Performance Li-S Batteries

  • Jiapeng Ji,
  • Ying Sha,
  • Zeheng Li,
  • Xuehui Gao,
  • Teng Zhang,
  • Shiyu Zhou,
  • Tong Qiu,
  • Shaodong Zhou,
  • Liang Zhang,
  • Min Ling,
  • Yanglong Hou,
  • Chengdu Liang

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2020


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The shuttle effect hinders the practical application of lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries due to the poor affinity between a substrate and Li polysulfides (LiPSs) and the sluggish transition of soluble LiPSs to insoluble Li2S or elemental S. Here, we report that Ni hexatomic clusters embedded in a nitrogen-doped three-dimensional (3D) graphene framework (Ni-N/G) possess stronger interaction with soluble polysulfides than that with insoluble polysulfides. The synthetic electrocatalyst deployed in the sulfur cathode plays a multifunctional role: (i) selectively adsorbing the polysulfides dissolved in the electrolyte, (ii) expediting the sluggish liquid-solid phase transformations at the active sites as electrocatalysts, and (iii) accelerating the kinetics of the electrochemical reaction of multielectron sulfur, thereby inhibiting the dissolution of LiPSs. The constructed [email protected]/G cathode delivers an areal capacity of 9.43 mAh cm-2 at 0.1 C at S loading of 6.8 mg cm-2, and it exhibits a gravimetric capacity of 1104 mAh g-1 with a capacity fading rate of 0.045% per cycle over 50 cycles at 0.2 C at S loading of 2.0 mg cm-2. This work opens a rational approach to achieve the selective adsorption and expediting of polysulfide transition for the performance enhancement of Li-S batteries.