Biomimetic Ant-Nest Electrode Structures for High Sulfur Ratio Lithium–Sulfur Batteries

The lithium–sulfur (Li–S) rechargeable battery has the benefit of high gravimetric energy density and low cost. Significant research currently focuses on increasing the sulfur loading and sulfur/inactive-materials ratio, to improve life and capacity. Inspired by nature’s ant-nest structure, this research results in a novel Li–S electrode that is designed to meet both goals. With only three simple manufacturing-friendly steps, which include slurry ball-milling, doctor-blade-based laminate casting, and the use of the sacrificial method with water to dissolve away table salt, the ant-nest design has been successfully recreated in an Li–S electrode. The efficient capabilities of the ant-nest structure are adopted to facilitate fast ion transportation, sustain polysulfide dissolution, and assist efficient precipitation. High cycling stability in the Li–S batteries, for practical applications, has been achieved with up to 3 mg·cm–2 sulfur loading. Li–S electrodes with up to a 85% sulfur ratio have also been achieved for the efficient design of this novel ant-nest structure.