LITHIUM-SULFUR BATTERY DESIGN: CATHODES, SEPARATORS, AND LITHIUM METAL ANODES

  • Dong Guo

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

The shortage of energy sources and the global climate change crisis have become critical issues. Solving these problems with clean and sustainable energy sources (solar, wind, tidal, and so on) is a promising solution. In this regard, energy storage techniques need to be implemented to tackle with the intermittent nature of the sustainable energies. Among the next-generation energy storage systems, lithium sulfur batteries has gained prominence due to the low cost, high theoretical specific-capacity of sulfur. Extensive research has been conducted on this battery system. Nevertheless, several issues including the “shuttle effect” and the growth of lithium dendrites still exist, which could cause rapid capacity loss and safety hazards. Several methods are proposed to tackle the challenges in this dissertation, including cathode engineering, interlayer design, and lithium metal anode protection. An asymmetric cathode structure is first developed by a non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) method. The asymmetric cathode comprises a nanoporous matrix and ultrathin and dense top layer. The top-layer is a desired barrier to block polysulfides transport, while the sublayer threaded with cationic networks facilitate Li-ions transport and sulfur conversions. In addition, a conformal and ultrathin microporous membrane is electrodeposited on the whole surface of the cathode by an electropolymerization method. This strategy creates a close system, which greatly blocks the LiPS leakage and improves the sulfur utilization. A polycarbazole-type interlayer is deposited on the polypropylene (PP) separator via an electropolymerization method. This interlayer is ultrathin, continuous, and microporous, which defines the critical properties of an ideal interlayer that is required for advanced Li–S batteries. Meanwhile, a self-assembled 2D MXene based interlayer was prepared to offer abundant porosity, dual absorption sites, and desirable electrical conductivity for Li-ions transport and polysulfides conversions. A new 2D COF-on-MXene heterostructures is prepared as the lithium anode host. The 2D heterostructures has hierarchical porosity, conductive frameworks, and lithiophilic sites. When utilized as a lithium host, the MXene@COF host can efficiently regulate the Li+ diffusion, and reduce the nucleation and deposition overpotential, which results in a dendrite-free and safer Li–S battery.
Date of AwardApr 4 2021
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Science and Engineering
SupervisorZhiping Lai (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Lithium Sulfur Battery
  • MXene
  • Lithium Metal Anode
  • Electropolymerization
  • Membrane
  • Energy Storage

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