Nanomaterials: Science and applications in the lithium–sulfur battery

Lin Ma, Kenville E. Hendrickson, Shuya Wei, Lynden A. Archer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

325 Scopus citations


© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Reliable and cost-effective technologies for electrical energy storage are in great demand in sectors of the global economy ranging from portable devices, transportation, and sustainable production of electricity from intermittent sources. Among the various electrochemical energy storage options under consideration, rechargeable lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries remain the most promising platform for reversibly storing large amounts of electrical energy at moderate cost set by the inherent cell chemistry. The success of Li-S storage technology in living up to this promise calls for solutions to fundamental problems associated with the inherently low electrical conductivity of sulfur and sulfides, and the complex solution chemistry of lithiated sulfur compounds in commonly used electrolytes. These problems appear well posed for innovative solutions using nanomaterials and for fundamental answers guided by the tools of nanotechnology. Beginning with a review of the current understanding of Li-S battery chemistry and operation, this review discusses how advances in nano-characterization and theoretical studies of the Li-S system are helping advance the understanding of the Li-S battery. Factors that prevent Li-S cells from realizing the theoretical capacity set by their chemistry are discussed both in terms of the impressive advances in cell design enabled by nanomaterials and recent progress aimed at nanoengineering the cathode and other cell components. Perspectives and directions for future development of the Li-S storage platform are discussed based on accumulated knowledge from previous efforts in the field as well as from the accumulated experience of the writers of this review.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-338
Number of pages24
JournalNano Today
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-C1-018-02
Acknowledgements: This publication was based on work supported in part by the National Science Foundation, Partnerships for Innovation Program (Grant# IIP-1237622); by the Energy Materials Center at Cornell, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Award Number DE-SC0001086; and by Award No. KUS-C1-018-02, made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). This work made use of the electron microscopy facility at the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR), an NSF supported MRSEC through Grant DMR-1120296.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


Dive into the research topics of 'Nanomaterials: Science and applications in the lithium–sulfur battery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this