Electrocatalysis of polysulfide conversion by sulfur-deficient MoS2 nanoflakes for lithium–sulfur batteries†
Lithium–sulfur batteries are promising next-generation energy storage devices due to their high energy density and low material cost. Efficient conversion of lithium polysulfides to lithium sulfide (during discharge) and to sulfur (during recharge) is a performance-determining factor for lithium–sulfur batteries. Here we show that MoS2−x/reduced graphene oxide (MoS2−x/rGO) can be used to catalyze the polysulfide reactions to improve the battery performance. It was confirmed, through microstructural characterization of the materials, that sulfur deficiencies on the surface participated in the polysulfide reactions and significantly enhanced the polysulfide conversion kinetics. The fast conversion of soluble polysulfides decreased their accumulation in the sulfur cathode and their loss from the cathode by diffusion. Hence in the presence of a small amount of MoS2−x/rGO (4 wt% of the cathode mass), high rate (8C) performance of the sulfur cathode was improved from a capacity of 161.1 mA h g−1 to 826.5 mA h g−1. In addition, MoS2−x/rGO also enhanced the cycle stability of the sulfur cathode from a capacity fade rate of 0.373% per cycle (over 150 cycles) to 0.083% per cycle (over 600 cycles) at a typical 0.5C rate. These results provide direct experimental evidence for the catalytic role of MoS2−x/rGO in promoting the polysulfide conversion kinetics in the sulfur cathode.