Corresponding Author

Jian CHEN(chenjian@dicp.ac.cn)


The electrochemical reduction of sulfur (S) takes place through multistep reactions when S is used as a cathode material. The complete discharge of S to form final product lithium sulfide (Li2S) is a two-electron reaction. The formation of low-order lithium polysulfides (LiPS) needs to overcome certain energy barriers. And the reduction of Li2S2 to Li2S is the rate-limited step. The reaction kinetic of sulfur cathode is the critical key to determine the electrochemical performance of Li-S batteries, such as specific energy, specific power and low temperature performance, etc. Accelerating the rate-limited step kinetics of sulfur cathodes can promote the conversion of soluble Li2S4 to insoluble Li2S2/Li2S, contributing to suppressed or eliminated “shuttle effect”. Recently, there are lots of transition metal oxides, sulfides, carbides, nitrides, phosphate, single atoms and redox electron mediators being applied in the preparations of sulfur cathodes, which improve the electrochemical performances and cycle stabilities. However, detailed mechanism of catalytic reaction is not completely clear. This review focuses on the functional and catalytic mechanisms of those metal compounds towards polysulfides, summarizes the recent research progress, and prospects the development and ongoing research of sulfur cathodes.

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lithium-sulfur batteries, sulfur cathodes, catalytic conversions

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