Improved cyclability of lithium-sulfur battery cathode using encapsulated sulfur in hollow carbon nanofiber@nitrogen-doped porous carbon core-shell composite
Hollow carbon nanofiber@nitrogen-doped porous carbon (HCNF@NPC) core-shell composite, which was carbonized from HCNF@polyaniline, was prepared as an improved high conductive carbon matrix for encapsulating sulfur as a cathode composite material for lithium-sulfur batteries. The prepared HCNF@NPC-S composite with high sulfur content of 77.5 wt.% showed an obvious core-shell structure with an NPC layer coating on the surface of the HCNFs and sulfur homogeneously distributed in the coating layer. This material exhibited much better electrochemical performance than the HCNF-S composite, delivered initial discharge capacity of 1170 mAh g-1, and maintains 590 mAh g-1 after 200 cycles at the current density of 837.5 mA g-1 (0.5 C). The significantly improved electrochemical performance of the HCNF@NPC-S composite was attributed to the synergetic effect between HCNF cores, which provided electronic conduction pathways and worked as mechanical support, and the NPC shells with relatively high surface area and pore volume, which could trap sulfur/polysulfides and provide Li+ conductive pathways.