We report herein a hierarchically structured sulfur-carbon (S/C) nanocomposite material as the high surface-area cathode for rechargeable lithium batteries. A porous carbon with a uniform distribution of mesopores of 7.3 nm has been synthesized through a soft-template synthesis method. The potassium hydroxide activation of this mesoporous carbon results in a bimodal porous carbon with added microporosity of less than 2 nm to the existing mesopores without deterioration of the integrity of the original mesoporous carbon. Elemental sulfur has been loaded to the micropores through a solution infiltration method. The resulted S/C composites with various loading level or sulfur have a high surface areas and large internal porosities. These materials have been tested as novel cathodes for Li/S batteries. The results show that the cyclability and the utilization of sulfur in the Li/S batteries have been significantly improved. The large internal porosity and Surface area of the micromesoporous carbon is essential for the high utilization of sulfur.
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