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A novel lithium/sulfur battery based on sulfur/graphene nanosheet composite cathode and gel polymer electrolyte

Yongguang Zhang12, Yan Zhao12 and Zhumabay Bakenov12*

Author Affiliations

1 Nazarbayev University, 53 Kabanbay Batyr Avenue, Astana 010000, Kazakhstan

2 Institute of Batteries, 53 Kabanbay Batyr Avenue, Astana 010000, Kazakhstan

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:137  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-137

Published: 21 March 2014

Abstract

A novel sulfur/graphene nanosheet (S/GNS) composite was prepared via a simple ball milling of sulfur with commercial multi-layer graphene nanosheet, followed by a heat treatment. High-resolution transmission and scanning electronic microscopy observations showed the formation of irregularly interlaced nanosheet-like structure consisting of graphene with uniform sulfur coating on its surface. The electrochemical properties of the resulting composite cathode were investigated in a lithium cell with a gel polymer electrolyte (GPE) prepared by trapping 1 mol dm−3 solution of lithium bistrifluoromethanesulfonamide in tetraethylene glycol dimethyl ether in a polymer matrix composed of poly(vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene)/poly(methylmethacrylate)/silicon dioxide (PVDF-HFP/PMMA/SiO2). The GPE battery delivered reversible discharge capacities of 809 and 413 mAh g−1 at the 1st and 50th cycles at 0.2C, respectively, along with a high coulombic efficiency over 50 cycles. This performance enhancement of the cell was attributed to the suppression of the polysulfide shuttle effect by a collective effect of S/GNS composite cathode and GPE, providing a higher sulfur utilization.