Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries are becoming increasingly attractive as one of the most promising advanced secondary batteries with overwhelming advantages of high theoretical capacity (1675 mAh/g) and high energy density (2600 VS. 420 W h/kg of traditional Li-ion batteries). Sulfur is one of the most abundant elements on earth and is an underutilized byproduct from the oil and gas industries. Additionally, in comparison to Li-ion batteries, Li-S batteries have improved safety and lower cost. They are also more environmentally friendly. However, the predominant challenge with lithium-sulfur batteries is capacity drop and low cycle life during usage of the sulfur-based electrode. This project aims to solve this problem by careful design of carbon based nanomaterials to physically and/or chemically confine the sulfur component. Developing the sulfur/carbon nanocomposite will be conducted using well-studied synthesis processes. Characterization of the electrodes will be conducted through analytical techniques via scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Electrochemical evaluation of assembled split cell will consist of cyclability and rate capability testing using the electrochemical testing station. The expected outcome is to achieve high performance of Li-S batteries with long cycle life and maintaining high specific capacity, a goal for emerging advanced energy storage technology, portable electronics, and grid-scale energy station.
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