Sulfur impregnation in polypyrrole-modified MnO2 nanotubes: efficient polysulfide adsorption for improved lithium–sulfur battery performance
Rechargeable lithium–sulfur batteries have emerged as a viable technology for next generation electrochemical energy storage, and the sulfur cathode plays a critical role in determining the device performance. In this study, we prepared functional composites based on polypyrrole-coated MnO2 nanotubes as a highly efficient sulfur host (sulfur mass loading 63.5%). The hollow interior of the MnO2 nanotubes not only allowed for accommodation of volumetric changes of sulfur particles during the cycling process, but also confined the diffusion of lithium polysulfides by physical restriction and chemical adsorption, which minimized the loss of polysulfide species. In addition, the polypyrrole outer layer effectively enhanced the electrical conductivity of the cathode to facilitate ion and electron transport. The as-prepared MnO2-PPy-S composite delivered an initial specific capacity of 1469 mA h g−1 and maintained an extremely stable cycling performance, with a small capacity decay of merely 0.07% per cycle at 0.2C within 500 cycles, a high average coulombic efficiency of 95.7% and an excellent rate capability at 470 mA h g−1 at the current density of 3C.