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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Biomimetic Ant-Nest Electrode Structures for High Sulfur Ratio Lithium–Sulfur Batteries


The lithium-sulfur (Li-S) rechargeable battery has the benefit of high gravimetric energy density and low cost. Significant research currently focuses on increasing the sulfur loading and sulfur/inactive-materials ratio, to improve life and capacity. Inspired by nature's ant-nest structure, this research results in a novel Li-S electrode that is designed to meet both goals. With only three simple manufacturing-friendly steps, which include slurry ball-milling, doctor-blade-based laminate casting, and the use of the sacrificial method with water to dissolve away table salt, the ant-nest design has been successfully recreated in an Li-S electrode. The efficient capabilities of the ant-nest structure are adopted to facilitate fast ion transportation, sustain polysulfide dissolution, and assist efficient precipitation. High cycling stability in the Li-S batteries, for practical applications, has been achieved with up to 3 mg·cm(-2) sulfur loading. Li-S electrodes with up to a 85% sulfur ratio have also been achieved for the efficient design of this novel ant-nest structure.

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