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Encapsulating Silica/Antimony into Porous Electrospun Carbon Nanofibers with Robust Structure Stability for High-Efficiency Lithium Storage

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posted on 11.04.2018, 00:00 by Hongkang Wang, Xuming Yang, Qizhen Wu, Qiaobao Zhang, Huixin Chen, Hongmei Jing, Jinkai Wang, Shao-Bo Mi, Andrey L. Rogach, Chunming Niu
To address the volume-change-induced pulverization problems of electrode materials, we propose a “silica reinforcement” concept, following which silica-reinforced carbon nanofibers with encapsulated Sb nanoparticles (denoted as SiO2/Sb@CNFs) are fabricated via an electrospinning method. In this composite structure, insulating silica fillers not only reinforce the overall structure but also contribute to additional lithium storage capacity; encapsulation of Sb nanoparticles into the carbon–silica matrices efficiently buffers the volume changes during Li–Sb alloying–dealloying processes upon cycling and alleviates the mechanical stress; the porous carbon nanofiber framework allows for fast charge transfer and electrolyte diffusion. These advantageous characteristics synergistically contribute to the superior lithium storage performance of SiO2/Sb@CNF electrodes, which demonstrate excellent cycling stability and rate capability, delivering reversible discharge capacities of 700 mA h/g at 200 mA/g, 572 mA h/g at 500 mA/g, and 468 mA h/g at 1000 mA/g each after 400 cycles. Ex situ as well as in situ TEM measurements confirm that the structural integrity of silica-reinforced Sb@CNF electrodes can efficiently withstand the mechanical stress induced by the volume changes. Notably, the SiO2/Sb@CNF//LiCoO2 full cell delivers high reversible capacities of ∼400 mA h/g after 800 cycles at 500 mA/g and ∼336 mA h/g after 500 cycles at 1000 mA/g.