A new insight into the molecular rearrangement of sulfurized polyacrylonitrile cathode in ether electrolyte




Wang, Wei
Wangcong, Xu
Xia, Shuhang
Xue, Wenying
Wang, Jin
Wang, Xiaofei
Li, Huilan
Lin, Shiru
Zhao, Yu
Wang, Lina

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Sulfurized polyacrylonitrile (SPAN) is one of the most promising cathode materials with high energy density. However, irreversible shuttling effect is easily triggered by formation of soluble polysulfides (Li2Sn, 2< n ≤8) in ether electrolytes. The major challenge relies in the control of molecular rearrangement of SPAN to avoid spontaneous generation of Li2Sn. This work reveals the morphological and structural roles that responsible for the compatibility of SPAN with ether electrolytes. Besides the length of the covalently bonded –Sx– chains in the pyrolyzed PAN backbone, the protection of SPAN fragments from robust interactions with solvents enables a stable cycling of electrodes. The freestanding SPAN cathode with a continuous fibrous network exhibits a much higher electrochemical stability than its powder counterparts. The single-phase solid-solid reaction of SPAN with Li+ can be realized with Li2S as the sole discharge product. Nevertheless, the reversible reaction is kinetically dominated by the activation of the produced Li2S. The recharge ability and rate capability can be improved by rationally controlling the molecular rearrangement of SPAN. The trace amount of in-situ generated Li2Sn acting as a chemical mediator can promote the reversible decomposition of Li2S, offering a new insight into cathode design of Li–S batteries.


Article originally published in Chemical Engineering Journal, 470, 144142. English. Published online 2023. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2023.144142
This post-print is under a publisher-required 24 month embargo. The embargo period will expire August 1, 2025.


Lithium–sulfur battery, Sulfurized polyacrylonitrile, Molecular rearrangement, Electrolyte, Reaction mechanism


This is the post-print version of an article that is available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cej.2023.144142. Recommended citation: Wang, W., Xu, W., Xia, S., Xue, W., Wang, J., Wang, X., Li, H., Lin, S., Zhao, Y., Wang, L., & Wang, Y. (2023). A new insight into the molecular rearrangement of sulfurized polyacrylonitrile cathode in ether electrolyte. Chemical Engineering Journal, 470, 144142. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.