A Foldable Lithium-Sulfur Battery

L Li and ZP Wu and H Sun and DM Chen and J Gao and S Suresh and P Chow and CV Singh and N Koratkar, ACS NANO, 9, 11342-11350 (2015).

DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.5b05068

The next generation of deformable and shape-conformable electronics devices will need to be powered by batteries that are not only flexible but also foldable. Here we report a foldable lithium-sulfur (Li-S) rechargeable battery, with the highest areal capacity (similar to 3 mAh cm(-2)) reported to date among all types of foldable energy-storage devices. The key to this result lies in the use of fully foldable and superelastic carbon nanotube current-collector films and impregnation of the active materials (S and Li) into the current-collectors in a checkerboard pattern, enabling the battery to be folded along two mutually orthogonal directions. The carbon nanotube films also serve as the sulfur entrapment layer in the Li-S battery. The foldable battery showed <12% loss in specific capacity over 100 continuous folding and unfolding cycles. Such shape-conformable Li-S batteries with significantly greater energy density than traditional lithium-ion batteries could power the flexible and foldable devices of the future including laptops, cell phones, tablet computers, surgical tools, and implantable biomedical devices.

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