Design and Synthesis of Bubble-Nanorod-Structured Fe2O3–Carbon Nanofibers as Advanced Anode Material for Li-Ion Batteries

A structure denoted as a “bubble-nanorod composite” is synthesized by introducing the Kirkendall effect into the electrospinning method. Bubble-nanorod-structured Fe2O3–C composite nanofibers, which are composed of nanosized hollow Fe2O3 spheres uniformly dispersed in an amorphous carbon matrix, are synthesized as the target material. Post-treatment of the electrospun precursor nanofibers at 500 °C under 10% H2/Ar mixture gas atmosphere produces amorphous FeOx–carbon composite nanofibers. Post-treatment of the FeOx–carbon composite nanofibers at 300 °C under air atmosphere produces the bubble-nanorod-structured Fe2O3–C composite nanofibers. The solid Fe nanocrystals formed by the reduction of FeOx are converted into hollow Fe2O3 nanospheres during the further heating process by the well-known Kirkendall diffusion process. The discharge capacities of the bubble-nanorod-structured Fe2O3–C composite nanofibers and hollow bare Fe2O3 nanofibers for the 300th cycles at a current density of 1.0 A g–1 are 812 and 285 mA h g–1, respectively, and their capacity retentions measured from the second cycle are 84 and 24%, respectively. The hollow nanospheres accommodate the volume change that occurs during cycling. The unique structure of the bubble-nanorod-structured Fe2O3–C composite nanofibers results in their superior electrochemical properties by improving the structural stability during long-term cycling.