In situ template synthesis of hierarchical porous carbon used for high performance lithium–sulfur batteries†
Hierarchical porous carbon (HPC) consists of micropores, mesopores and macrospores which are synthesized by in situ formation of template followed by acid etching. The obtained pores are three-dimensional and interconnected, and evenly distributed in the carbon matrix. By adjusting the ratio of the raw materials, the high specific surface area and large pore volume is afforded. The obtained HPC-3 samples possess graphite flakes and locally graphited-carbon walls, which provide good electrical conductivity. These unique characteristics make these materials suitable cathode scaffolds for Li–S batteries. After encapsulating 61% sulfur into HPC-3 host, the S/HPC-3 composite exhibits excellent cycling stability, high columbic efficiency, and superior rate cycling as a cathode material. The S/HPC-3 composite cathode displays an initial discharge capacity of 1059 mA h g−1, and a reversible capacity of 797 mA h g−1 after 200 cycles at 0.2C. The discharge capacities of the S/HPC-3 composite cathode after every 10 cycles at 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1, and 2C are 1119, 1056, 982, 921, and 829 mA h g−1, respectively.