Researchers in the UCLA Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering have developed a lithium-sulfur battery that overcomes the poor recharging and short lifespan problems common among other lithium-sulfur battery configurations.
Lithium ion batteries are widely used in applications ranging from portable electronics to electric cars but offer only limited charge capacity and contain relatively expensive materials. Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries have been considered an attractive alternative because they present superior energy density with lower raw material cost. Current Li-S batteries, however, suffer from self-discharge, fast capacity fading, poor cycling life, and rapid reduction in efficiency. There is a need for improved Li-S technologies to advance rechargeable battery performance and use.
UCLA researchers have developed a battery with a sulfur-containing cathode that provides improved capacity retention with repeated charge-discharge cycles. The key to the invention is applying a voltage-responsive metal compound to the cathode to inhibit outward diffusion of polysulfide compounds, while allowing transport of lithium ions. Devising a means of controlling these mechanisms has limited other attempts to develop practical Li-S battery designs.
Additional Patent Pending