Researchers report new approach to improving lithium-sulfur batteries

Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are the power behind most modern portable electronics, including cell phones, tablets, laptops, fitness trackers, and smart watches. However, their energy density — that is, the amount of energy stored within a given amount of physical space, or mass — will need to be improved for these batteries to see widespread use in smart grid and electric transport applications.

In contrast, the energy density of lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries is five times higher than that of Li-ion batteries. That advantage, combined with low cost, suggests that this alternative technology shows promise for high-energy storage applications.

But the use of Li-S batteries is limited by a different problem: rapid capacity fade, which means that the amount of charge these batteries can deliver at the rated voltage decreases significantly with use.

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