Understanding the roles of activated porous carbon nanotubes as sulfur support and separator coating for lithium-sulfur batteries

Jian Qiu Huang, Woon Gie Chong, Qingbin Zheng, Zheng Long Xu, Jiang Cui, Shanshan Yao, Chuanwei Wang, Jang Kyo Kim (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon nanotubes are chemically activated to create hierarchical multiscale porosity while maintaining an excellent electrical conductivity. The lithium-sulfur battery consisting of an activated carbon nanotube (aCNT)/sulfur cathode and an aCNT-modified separator with an optimal composition delivers an excellent reversible capacity of 621 mAh g−1 after 500 cycles at 0.5 C with an exceptionally low degradation rate of 0.043% per cycle. The fascinating performance arises from the ameliorating functional characteristics of aCNTs in both the two battery components. The highly porous, conductive aCNT network facilitates fast electron/ion transport and easy electrolyte penetration into the cathode, facilitating full utilization of active materials. The aCNT layer deposited on separator effectively constrains the polysulfide shuttling by physically blocking their migration to the anode while immobilizing polysulfides by strong adsorption onto the micropores of aCNT surface, as validated by microscopic images and molecular dynamic simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalElectrochimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Activated carbon nanotubes
  • High areal capacities
  • Lithium sulfur batteries
  • Molecular dynamic simulations
  • Polysulfide adsorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Electrochemistry

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