Single-Atom Coated Separator for Robust Lithium-Sulfur Batteries

Kun Zhang, Zhongxin Chen, Ruiqi Ning, Shibo Xi, Wei Tang, Yonghua Du, Cuibo Liu, Zengying Ren, Xiao Chi, Maohui Bai, Chao Shen, Xing Li, Xiaowei Wang, Xiaoxu Zhao, Kai Leng, Stephen J. Pennycook, Hongping Li, Hui Xu, Kian Ping Loh, Keyu Xie

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

155 Citations (Scopus)


Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries are strong contenders among lithium batteries due to superior capacity and energy density, but the polysulfide shuttling effect limits the cycle life and reduces energy efficiency due to a voltage gap between charge and discharge. Here, we demonstrate that graphene foam impregnated with single-atom catalysts (SACs) can be coated on a commercial polypropylene separator to catalyze polysulfide conversion, leading to a reduced voltage gap and a much improved cycle life. Also, among Fe/Co/Ni SACs, Fe SACs may be a better option to be used in Li-S systems. By deploying SACs in the battery separator, cycling stability improves hugely, especially considering relatively high sulfur loading and ultralow SAC contents. Even at a metal loading of ∼2 μg in the whole cell, an Fe SAC-modified separator delivers superior Li-S battery performance even at high sulfur loading (891.6 mAh g-1, 83.7% retention after 750 cycles at 0.5C). Our work further enriches and expands the application of SACs catalyzing polysulfide blocking and conversion and improving round trip efficiencies in batteries, without side effects such as electrolyte and electrode decomposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25147-25154
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • battery separator
  • in situ Raman measurement
  • lithium-sulfur battery
  • polysulfide shuttling effect
  • single-atom catalyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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