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Self-Assembled Protein Nanofilter for Trapping Polysulfides and Promoting Li+ Transport in Lithium–Sulfur Batteries

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journal contribution
posted on 24.04.2018, 00:00 by Xuewei Fu, Chunhui Li, Yu Wang, Louis Scudiero, Jin Liu, Wei-Hong Zhong
The diffusion of polysulfides in lithium–sulfur (Li–S) batteries represents a critical issue deteriorating the electrochemical performance. Here, borrowing the concepts from air filtration, we design and fabricate a protein-based nanofilter for effectively trapping polysulfides but facilitating Li+ transport. The unique porous structures are formed through a protein-directed self-assembly process, and the surfaces are functionalized by the protein residues. The experiments and molecular simulation results demonstrate that our polysulfide nanofilter can effectively trap the dissolved polysulfides and promote Li+ transport in Li–S batteries. When the polysulfide nanofilter is added in a Li–S battery, the electrochemical performance of the battery is significantly improved. Moreover, the contribution of the protein nanofilter to the ion transport is further analyzed by correlating filter properties and battery performance. This study is of universal significance for the understanding, design, and fabrication of advanced battery interlayers that can help realize good management of the ion transport inside advanced energy storage devices.