Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie scientists have fabricated a nanomaterial made from nanoparticles of a titanium oxide compound for lithium sulfur battery cathodes. The titanium oxide, Ti4O7 is characterized by an extremely large surface area, and was tested as a cathode material in lithium sulfur batteries.
Presently lithium batteries are one of the best solutions for storing electrical power in a small space. Lithium ions in these batteries migrate from the anode pole to the opposite electrical cathode pole during the discharge cycle. The anode and cathode generally consist of heavy-metal compounds that are expensive and toxic.
One interesting alternative is the lithium sulfur battery. A lithium sulfur cathode does not consist of heavy metals, but instead its sulfur, an economical and widely available material. As lithium ions migrate to the cathode during the discharge cycle, a reaction takes place there that forms lithium sulfide (Li2S) via various intermediate lithium polysulfides. During cycling, dissolution of lithium polysulfides causes the battery’s capacity to decline over the course of multiple charging cycles via the so-called “shuttle effect.” For this reason, researchers the world over are working to improve cathode materials that would be able to chemically or physically confine or encapsulate polysulfides, such as with nanoparticles made of titanium dioxide (TiO2), for example.
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