Ferroelectric nanoparticles improve lithium-sulfur batteries

March 07, 2017 // By Nick Flaherty
Researchers at the University of Delaware are using ferroelectric nanoparticles to make high energy density lithium sulfur (Li-S) batteries hold their charge more effectively.

The energy density of Li-S cells is five times higher than that of Li-ion batteries, which, with low cost, shows promise for high-energy storage applications. However, the cells struggle with rapid capacity fade, where the charge the batteries can deliver at the rated voltage decreases significantly with use.

This comes from the polysulfide shuttle effect, where the spontaneous formation of polysulfides inhibits performance, says Bingqing Wei, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Delaware.

The team, which iincludes researchers from Northwestern Polytechnical University, Shenzhen University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University in China, found that adding ferroelectric nanoparticles into the battery cathode anchors the polysulfides, preventing them from dissolving and causing the loss of active materials at the cathode.

"While the mechanism underlying the trapping of polysulfides is unclear at this point, we're optimistic about the potential of this approach to high-performance lithium-sulfur battery applications, as it not only solves the problem of the polysulfide shuttle effect but also can be seamlessly coupled to current industrial battery manufacturing processes," said Wei (pictured above).

www.edel.edu

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