On the Feasibility of Practical Mg-S Batteries: Practical Limitations Associated with Metallic Magnesium Anodes

Michael Salama, Ran Attias, Baruch Hirsch, Reut Yemini, Yosef Gofer, Malachi Noked, Doron Aurbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Rechargeable magnesium batteries (RMBs) have attracted a lot of attention in recent decades due to the theoretical properties of these systems in terms of energy density, safety, and price. Nevertheless, to date, fully rechargeable magnesium battery prototypes with sufficient longevity and reversibility were realized only with low voltage and low capacity intercalation cathode materials based on Cheverel phases. The community is therefore actively looking for high-capacity cathodes that can work with metallic magnesium anodes in viable RMB systems. One of the most promising cathode materials, in terms of very high theoretical specific capacity, is, naturally, sulfur. A number of recent works studied the electrochemical performances of rechargeable sulfur cathodes in RMB, with success to some extent on the cathode side. Nevertheless, as known from the lithium-sulfur rechargeable battery systems, the formation of soluble polysulfides during discharge affects strongly the behavior of the anode side. In this article and the work it describes, we focus on soluble polysulfides impact on Mg-S electrochemichal systems. We carefully designed herein conditions that mimic the Mg-S battery prototypes containing balanced Mg and elemental sulfur electrodes. Under these conditions, we extensively studied the Mg anode behavior. The study shows that when elemental sulfur cathodes are discharged in the Mg-S cells containing electrolyte solutions in which Mg anodes behave reversibly, the polysulfide species thus formed migrate to the anode and eventually fully passivate it by the formation of very stable surface layers. The work involved electrochemical, spectroscopic, and microscopic studies. The present study clearly shows that to realize practical rechargeable Mg-S batteries, the transport of any sulfide moieties from the sulfur cathode to the magnesium anode has to be completely avoided. Such a condition is mandatory for the operation of secondary Mg-S batteries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36910-36917
Number of pages8
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number43
StatePublished - 31 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Chemical Society.


We thank the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology for partial support in the framework of the School of Batteries research projects. We also thank Israel Committee of High Education and the Prime Minister Office for partial support in the framework of INREP consortium.

FundersFunder number
Israel Committee of High Education
Israeli ministry of science and technology
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet


    • electrochemistry
    • magnesium battery
    • passivation films
    • sulfur battery
    • surface chemistry


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