Cationic surfactant for lithium-sulfur batteries enables efficient use of sulfur and limits lithium dendrite formation

Yinglin Xiao, Zhongbo Liu, Jiachun Wu, Chang Liu, Yanqiu Peng, Yanchen Fan, Jian Chang, Zijian Zheng, Wei Huang, Guohua Chen, Yonghong Deng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Lithium-sulfur batteries (LSBs) are promising energy-storage systems due to their high theoretical energy density. However, LSBs’ practical energy density is limited by a large electrolyte-to-sulfur (E/S) ratio (>5 μL mg−1 S), and their reversible operation encounters challenges from electrode passivation and Li dendrite formation. Herein, we report a strategy for enhancing LSBs’ performance by using a cationic surfactant-based electrolyte additive: tetramethylammonium hexafluorophosphate (TAHP). The stronger electrostatic interaction between the tetramethylammonium cation and the short-chain polysulfide (PS) anion promotes the reduction of long-chain PS to short-chain PS, inducing 3D particulate deposition of Li2S and thus increasing both sulfur utilization and discharge potential, alleviating electrode passivation. Moreover, tetramethylammonium cations can adsorb around Li protrusions to form a lithiophobic protective layer that inhibits the formation of Li dendrites. As a result, the TAHP lithium-sulfur pouch cell maintained an excellent capacity retention ratio with 78.3% after 250 cycles under lean-electrolyte conditions (4.5 μL mg−1 sufur [S]).

Original languageEnglish
Article number101658
JournalCell Reports Physical Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2023


  • cationic surfactant
  • lean-electrolyte conditions
  • lithium-sulfur batteries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Energy
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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