In situ optical spectroscopy characterization for optimal design of lithium–sulfur batteries
The lithium–sulfur (Li–S) battery is one of the most promising high-energy-density secondary battery systems. However, it suffers from issues arising from its extremely complicated “solid–liquid–solid” reaction routes. In recent years, enormous advances have been made in optimizing Li–S batteries via the rational design of compositions and architectures. Nevertheless, a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the practical reaction mechanisms of Li–S systems and their effect on the electrochemical performance is still lacking. Very recently, several important in situ optical spectroscopic techniques, including Raman, infrared and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopies, have been developed to monitor the real-time variations of the battery states, and a bridge linking the macroscopic electrochemical performance and microscopic architectures of the components has been set up, thus playing a critical role in scientifically guiding further optimal design of Li–S batteries. In this tutorial review, we provide a systematic summary of the state-of-the-art innovations in the characterization and optimal design of Li–S batteries with the aid of these in situ optical spectroscopic techniques, to guide a beginner to construct in situ optical spectroscopy electrochemical cells, and develop strategies for preventing long-chain polysulfide formation, dissolution and migration, thus alleviating the shuttle effect in Li–S batteries and improving the cell performances significantly.