Mesoporous Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanospheres as Sulfur Matrix and a Novel Chelate-Modified Separator for High-Performance Room-Temperature Na-S Batteries
© 2020 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim Room-temperature sodium-sulfur (RT/Na-S) batteries are considered among the most promising next-generation energy storage and conversion systems because of the earth-abundant reserves of sodium and sulfur. These batteries also possess the advantages of high theoretical gravimetric capacity, high energy density, and low cost. Herein, highly uniform Fe3+/polyacrylamide nanospheres (FPNs) are fabricated on a large-scale by a facile, low-cost approach. Subsequently, mesoporous nitrogen-doped carbon nanospheres (PNC-Ns), obtained by carbonizing FPNs, are applied as a sulfur matrix to improve the utilization of sulfur, enhance the overall conductivity of the cathode, and inhibit the shuttling of sodium polysulfides (SPSs). In addition, graphene and FPNs are simultaneously coated onto the side of the separator to form a FPNs-graphene-functionalized separator (FPNs-G/separator); here, the mesoporous FPNs effectively anchor and block the SPSs, while the large specific area graphene sheets eliminate the intrinsic mechanical brittleness of the FPNs and improve the overall conductivity of RT/Na-S batteries. When S/PNC-Ns as a cathode and FPNs-G/separator are assembled into an RT/Na-S battery, it delivers a high discharge capacity (639 mAh g-1 at 0.1 C after 400 cycles), stable cycle life (396 mAh g-1 at 0.5 C after 800 cycles), and good rate performance (228 mAh g-1 at 2 C).