Lithium-sulfur batteries have drawn much attention in advanced energy storage development due to their high theoretical specific capacity; however, several obstacles hinder their applications, including rapid capacity loss due to dissolution of polysulfide into the electrolyte. Nitrogen-doped mesoporous carbon cathode materials were found to effectively immobilize sulfur species and minimize the sulfur loss. In this work, we use X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy to probe the coordination structures of C, O, and N in a carbon cathode before and after the sulfur loading in order to better understand the effects of nitrogen doping. A significant change in oxygen coordination structure is observed, whereas the carbon and nitrogen chemical environments remain unaltered. In addition, the significant change in S K-edge XANES spectra is also observed after sulfur was loaded on nitrogen-doped carbon cathode material. These observations reveal that strong interaction between the nitrogen-doped carbon and sulfur is through oxygen functional groups, and nitrogen doping probably makes oxygen functional groups more reactive toward sulfur.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films