Ordered Mesoporous MFe2O4 (M = Co, Cu, Mg, Ni, Zn) Thin Films with Nanocrystalline Walls, Uniform 16 nm Diameter Pores and High Thermal Stability: Template-Directed Synthesis and Characterization of Redox Active Trevorite

In this paper, we report on ordered mesoporous NiFe2O4 thin films synthesized via co-assembly of hydrated ferric nitrate and nickel chloride with an amphiphilic diblock copolymer, referred to as KLE. We establish that the NiFe2O4 samples are highly crystalline after calcination at 600 °C, and that the conversion of the amorphous inorganic framework comes at little cost to the ordering of the high quality cubic network of pores averaging 16 nm in diameter. We further show that the synthesis method employed in this work can be readily extended to other ferrites, such as CoFe2O4, CuFe2O4, MgFe2O4, and ZnFe2O4, which could pave the way for innovative device design. While this article focuses on the self-assembly and characterization of these materials using various state-of-the-art techniques, including electron microscopy, grazing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS), time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), as well as UV−vis and Raman spectroscopy, we also examine the electrochemical properties and show the benefits of combining a continuous mesoporosity with nanocrystalline films. KLE-templated NiFe2O4 electrodes exhibit reasonable levels of lithium ion storage at short charging times which stem from facile pseudocapacitance.