"Enhanced Cycling Stability of Sulfur Electrodes through Effective Binding of Pyridine-Functionalized Polymer"

Yuchi Tsao: Zheng Chen, Simon Rondeau-Gagne,́ Qianfan Zhang, Hongbin Yao, Shucheng Chen, Guangmin Zhou, Chenxi Zu, Yi Cui, and Zhenan Bao; ACS Energy Letters, 09/20/17.

Additional Authors: Zheng Chen, Simon Rondeau-Gagne,́ Qianfan Zhang, Hongbin Yao, Shucheng Chen, Guangmin Zhou, Chenxi Zu, Yi Cui, and Zhenan Bao

Abstract:

Porous carbons have previously been widely used as host materials for sulfur (S) electrodes because of their high conductivity and high surface area. However, they generally lack strong chemical affinity to stabilize polysulfide species. Therefore, conducting polymers have been employed to stabilize S electrodes. Integrating conducting polymers with high-surface-area carbons can create a new materials platform and synergize their functions. However, the previously used conducting polymers were often insoluble, and coating them uniformly from solution onto a nonpolar carbon substrate is a challenge. Here, we report that solution-processable isoindigo-based polymers incorporating polar substituents provide critical features: (1) the conjugated backbone provides good conductivity; (2) functional pyridine groups provide high affinity to polysulfide species; and (3) they possess high solubility in organic solvents. These lead to effective coating on various carbonaceous substrates to provide highly stable sulfur electrodes. Importantly, the electrodes exhibit good capacity retention (80% over 300 cycles) at sulfur mass loading of 3.2 mg/cm2 , which significantly surpasses the performance of others reported in polymer-enabled sulfur cathodes.

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