Controlling the polysulfide diffusion in lithium-sulfur batteries with a polymer membrane with intrinsic nanoporosity

Xingwen Yu, Sinan Feng, Mathew J. Boyer, Myungsuk Lee, Robert C. Ferrier, Nathaniel A. Lynd, Gyeong S. Hwang, Guibin Wang, Steve Swinnea, Arumugam Manthiram

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Polysulfide-shuttle has been a critical concern for the advancement of lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries. Celgard membranes that are generally used in Li-S batteries exhibit a porous structure with a pore dimension generally on the micrometer scale. During cell operation, soluble lithium polysulfide species can easily migrate from the cathode through the porous separator and react with the lithium-metal anode. Such an unexpected chemical reaction induces a cascade of negative effects on the overall performance of Li-S batteries. Use of ion-selective membranes with reduced pore size provides a promising approach to suppress the migration of polysulfide species. In this study, a membrane based on a polymer with intrinsic nanoporosity (PIN) with a pore size of <1.0 nm is explored as a separator in Li-S batteries to mitigate the polysulfide-shuttle problem. The PIN membrane exhibits a unique structure with pore dimensions of less than 1.0 nm, which allows the transport of Li-ions, but effectively blocks the migration of dissolved polysulfides. As a result, the cycling performance of Li-S batteries is significantly improved. In addition to demonstrating a PIN-membrane Li-S battery, the structural characteristics of the PIN membrane have been characterized by a series of experimental methodologies and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-104
Number of pages7
JournalMaterials Today Energy
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Electrochemical performance
  • Lithium-sulfur batteries
  • Molecular dynamics simulation
  • Nanoporosity
  • Polymer membrane
  • Polysulfide shuttle


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