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Tsinghua team explores strategies to reduce Li-S battery self-discharge

Researchers at Tsinghua University (China) report in a paper in ChemSusChem on their use of both lithium anode passivation and polysulfide anion diffusion suppression strategies to reduce self-discharge of the lithium–sulfur cell. The self-discharge of a lithium–sulfur cell decreases the shelf-life of the battery and is one of the bottlenecks that hinders its practical applications.

For their investigation, the researchers used a lithium–sulfur cell with a carbon nanotube/sulfur cathode and lithium-metal anode in lithium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide/1,3-dioxolane/dimethyl ether electrolyte was selected as the model system to investigate the self-discharge behavior.

LiNO3 used as an additive induced a high density passivation layer on the Li metal anode, resulting in a very low shuttle constant of 0.017 h−1. The diffusion of the polysulfides was retarded by an ion-selective separator, and the shuttle constants decreased.

The cell with LiNO3 additive maintained a discharge capacity of 97 % (961 mAh g−1) of the initial capacity after 120 days at open circuit, which was around three times higher than the routine cell (32 % of initial capacity, corresponding to 320 mAh g−1). It is expected that lithium–sulfur batteries with ultralow self-discharge rates may be fabricated through a combination of anode passivation and polysulfide shuttle control, as well as optimization of the lithium–sulfur cell configuration.

—Xu et al.


  • Xu, W.-T., Peng, H.-J., Huang, J.-Q., Zhao, C.-Z., Cheng, X.-B. and Zhang, Q. (2015) “Towards Stable Lithium–Sulfur Batteries with a Low Self-Discharge Rate: Ion Diffusion Modulation and Anode Protection,” ChemSusChem doi: 10.1002/cssc.201500428



With the other report elsewhere on this site, of work by Tsinghua Uni on this chemistry, also looking very positive, perhaps it is time to start keeping an eye upon these guys and their work. Li/S seems to hold some promise, judging by their results so far. Anybody here better qualified to offer observations there? The Science is a bit hard for me.

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