Special Issue "Emerging Nanomaterials for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries and Beyond"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy and Catalysis".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 September 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Young-Si Jun
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Chemical Engineering, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, South Korea
Interests: Energy Storage; Lithium Ion Batteries; Photochemistry; Nanomaterials; Materials; Graphene; Nanoparticles; Carbon; Functionalization; Nanotubes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Growing demands on electricity storage have triggered tremendous research efforts on rechargeable batteries. As a primary power source, batteries would supply power to emerging energy storage systems, electric vehicles, and portable electronics. Among various battery technologies, lithium-sulfur batteries (LSBs) are at the forefront of meeting the tough requirements. LSBs, consisting of a metallic lithium anode and a chemically active sulfur cathode, have a high theoretical energy density of ~2600 Wh/kg. Moreover, the sulfur active material is environmentally benign, earth-abundant, and cheap ($0.02/g).

The practical application of LSBs is hampered by the intrinsic insulating property of active materials and the shuttle effect of soluble intermediates. In order to circumvent these technical challenges, innovative strategies have been employed over the last decades in almost all aspects of battery development, such as electrode, binder, separator, electrolyte, and cell configuration, where the materials in the nanometer-scale play vital roles in improving the electrochemical performance of LSBs by virtue of unique electronic, thermal, and mechanical properties. Such strategies significantly improve the utilization of sulfur and the cycle stability of LSBs, but only under certain conditions, for example, the areal sulfur loading is as low as ~2 mg sulfur/cm2 electrode, which makes a significant gap between the laboratory scale cell tests and the practical ones.

The chronic problems of LSBs deepen further under the high sulfur loading condition (>6 mg sulfur/cm2), which is a crucial factor in order to compete with the current state-of-the-art Li-ion batteries. It is rather unclear how the high sulfur loading conditions affect the fundamental behaviors of the materials at a nanometer-scale in LSBs, thus a more detailed insight is highly demanded. The present Special Issue will thus focus on the most recent advances in the development of materials at a nanometer-scale for LSBs, under high loading conditions. I warmly invite scholars to submit original research articles, letters, and critical reviews on a novel nanomaterial-based electrodes, binders, separators, electrolytes, and cell configuration, which enable the high-performance LSBs under high loading conditions.

Prof. Young-Si Jun
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Lithium-sulfur batteries
  • Nanostructure
  • Electrode
  • Separator
  • Electrolyte
  • Li-metal electrode
  • High sulfur loading
  • Cell configuration
  • Solid or polymer electrolyte
  • Manufacturing
  • Flexible

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Lotus Root-Like Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanofiber Structure Assembled with VN Catalysts as a Multifunctional Host for Superior Lithium–Sulfur Batteries
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(12), 1724; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9121724 - 03 Dec 2019
Abstract
Lithium–sulfur batteries (LSBs) are regarded as one of the most promising energy-recycling storage systems due to their high energy density (up to 2600 Wh kg−1), high theoretical specific capacity (as much as 1672 mAh g−1), environmental friendliness, and low [...] Read more.
Lithium–sulfur batteries (LSBs) are regarded as one of the most promising energy-recycling storage systems due to their high energy density (up to 2600 Wh kg−1), high theoretical specific capacity (as much as 1672 mAh g−1), environmental friendliness, and low cost. Originating from the complicated redox of lithium polysulfide intermediates, Li–S batteries suffer from several problems, restricting their application and commercialization. Such problems include the shuttle effect of polysulfides (Li2Sx (2 < x ≤ 8)), low electronic conductivity of S/Li2S/Li2S2, and large volumetric expansion of S upon lithiation. In this study, a lotus root-like nitrogen-doped carbon nanofiber (NCNF) structure, assembled with vanadium nitride (VN) catalysts, was fabricated as a 3D freestanding current collector for high performance LSBs. The lotus root-like NCNF structure, which had a multichannel porous nanostructure, was able to provide excellent (ionically/electronically) conductive networks, which promoted ion transport and physical confinement of lithium polysulfides. Further, the structure provided good electrolyte penetration, thereby enhancing the interface contact with active S. VN, with its narrow resolved band gap, showed high electrical conductivity, high catalytic effect and polar chemical adsorption of lithium polysulfides, which is ideal for accelerating the reversible redox kinetics of intermediate polysulfides to improve the utilization of S. Tests showed that the VN-decorated multichannel porous carbon nanofiber structure retained a high specific capacity of 1325 mAh g−1 after 100 cycles at 0.1 C, with a low capacity decay of 0.05% per cycle, and demonstrated excellent rate capability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Nanomaterials for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries and Beyond)
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Open AccessArticle
Studies on Possible Ion-Confinement in Nanopore for Enhanced Supercapacitor Performance in 4V EMIBF4 Ionic Liquids
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(12), 1664; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9121664 - 22 Nov 2019
Abstract
Supercapacitors have the rapid charge/discharge kinetics and long stability in comparison with various batteries yet undergo low energy density. Theoretically, square dependence of energy density upon voltage reveals a fruitful but challenging engineering tenet to address this long-standing problem by keeping a large [...] Read more.
Supercapacitors have the rapid charge/discharge kinetics and long stability in comparison with various batteries yet undergo low energy density. Theoretically, square dependence of energy density upon voltage reveals a fruitful but challenging engineering tenet to address this long-standing problem by keeping a large voltage window in the compositionally/structurally fine-tuned electrode/electrolyte systems. Inspired by this, a facile salt-templating enables hierarchically porous biochars for supercapacitors filled by the high-voltage ionic liquids (ILs). Resultant nanostructures possess a coherent/interpenetrated framework of curved atom-thick sidewalls of 0.8-/1.5-nanometer pores to reconcile the pore-size-dependent adlayer structures of ILs in nanopores. Surprisingly, this narrow dual-model pore matches ionic radii of selected ILs to accommodate ions by unique coupled nano-/bi-layer nanoconfinements, augmenting the degree of confinement (DoC). The high DoC efficiently undermines the coulombic ordering networks and induces the local conformational oscillations, thus triggering an anomalous but robust charge separation. This novel bi-/mono-layer nanoconfinement combination mediates harmful overscreening/overcrowding effects to reinforce ion-partitioning, mitigating long-lasting conflicts of power/energy densities. This interesting result differs from a long-held viewpoint regarding the sieving effect that ion-in-pore capacitance peaks only if pore size critically approaches the ion dimension. Optimal biocarbon finally presents a very high/stable operational voltage up to 4 V and specific energy/power rating (88.3 Wh kg−1 at 1 kW kg−1, 47.7 Wh kg−1 albeit at a high battery-accessible specific power density of 20 kW kg−1), overwhelmingly outperforming most hitherto-reported supercapacitors and some batteries. Such attractive charge storage level can preliminarily elucidate an alternative form of a super-ionic-state high-energy storage linked with both the coordination number and coulombic periodism of the few ion-sized mesopores inside carbon electrodes, escalating supercapacitors into a novel criterion of charge delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Nanomaterials for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries and Beyond)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Polyimide-Coated Glass Microfiber as Polysulfide Perm-Selective Separator for High-Performance Lithium-Sulphur Batteries
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(11), 1612; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9111612 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Although numerous research efforts have been made for the last two decades, the chronic problems of lithium-sulphur batteries (LSBs), i.e., polysulfide shuttling of active sulphur material and surface passivation of the lithium metal anode, still impede their practical application. In order to mitigate [...] Read more.
Although numerous research efforts have been made for the last two decades, the chronic problems of lithium-sulphur batteries (LSBs), i.e., polysulfide shuttling of active sulphur material and surface passivation of the lithium metal anode, still impede their practical application. In order to mitigate these issues, we utilized polyimide functionalized glass microfibers (PI-GF) as a functional separator. The water-soluble precursor enabled the formation of a homogenous thin coating on the surface of the glass microfiber (GF) membrane with the potential to scale and fine-tune: the PI-GF was prepared by simple dipping of commercial GF into an aqueous solution of poly(amic acid), (PAA), followed by thermal imidization. We found that a tiny amount of polyimide (PI) of 0.5 wt.% is more than enough to endow the GF separator with useful capabilities, both retarding polysulfide migration. Combined with a free-standing microporous carbon cloth-sulphur composite cathode, the PI-GF-based LSB cell exhibits a stable cycling over 120 cycles at a current density of 1 mA/cm2 and an areal sulphur loading of 2 mgS/cm2 with only a marginal capacity loss of 0.099%/cycle. This corresponds to an improvement in cycle stability by 200%, specific capacity by 16.4%, and capacity loss per cycle by 45% as compared to those of the cell without PI coating. Our study revealed that a simple but synergistic combination of porous carbon supporting material and functional separator enabled us to achieve high-performance LSBs, but could also pave the way for the development of practical LSBs using the commercially viable method without using complicated synthesis or harmful and expensive chemicals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Nanomaterials for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries and Beyond)
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