Critical Role of Functional Groups Containing N, S, and O on Graphene Surface for Stable and Fast Charging Li-S Batteries

Jinhua Sun, Jang Yeon Hwang*, Piotr Jankowski, Linhong Xiao, Jaime S. Sanchez, Zhenyuan Xia, Suyeong Lee, Alexandr V. Talyzin, Aleksandar Matic, Vincenzo Palermo*, Yang Kook Sun*, Marco Agostini*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries are considered one of the most promising energy storage technologies, possibly replacing the state-of-the-art lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries owing to their high energy density, low cost, and eco-compatibility. However, the migration of high-order lithium polysulfides (LiPs) to the lithium surface and the sluggish electrochemical kinetics pose challenges to their commercialization. The interactions between the cathode and LiPs can be enhanced by the doping of the carbon host with heteroatoms, however with relatively low doping content (<10%) in the bulk of the carbon, which can hardly interact with LiPs at the host surface. In this study, the grafting of versatile functional groups with designable properties (e.g., catalytic effects) directly on the surface of the carbon host is proposed to enhance interactions with LiPs. As model systems, benzene groups containing N/O and S/O atoms are vertically grafted and uniformly distributed on the surface of expanded reduced graphene oxide, fostering a stable interface between the cathode and LiPs. The combination of experiments and density functional theory calculations demonstrate improvements in chemical interactions between graphene and LiPs, with an enhancement in the electrochemical kinetics, power, and energy densities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2007242
Issue number17
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Electrolyte lean condition
  • Graphene
  • Lithium-sulfur batteries
  • Practical energy and power density
  • Surface functionalization


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