A novel nanocrystalline porous α-LiFeO2–C composite with a high surface area of around 115 m2 g−1 has been synthesized by a simple molten salt method, followed by a carbon coating process. The structure and morphology were confirmed by X-ray diffraction, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). FE-SEM observations demonstrated that the morphology consists of α-LiFeO2–C nanoclusters composed of very tiny nanoparticles joined together by a porous architecture. TEM investigations revealed that amorphous carbon was incorporated into the pores among the nanoparticles and that some nanoparticles were covered by a thin layer of carbon as well. Electrochemical measurements showed that the α-LiFeO2–C nanocomposite delivered a significantly higher reversible capacity and excellent cycle stability (230 mA h g−1 at 0.5 C after 100 cycles). Even at the high rate of 3 C, the electrode showed more than 50% of the capacity at low rate (0.1 C). The excellent electrochemical performance of the α-LiFeO2–C nanocomposite electrode can be attributed to the porous conductive architecture among the nanoparticles, which not only has benefits in terms of decreasing the absolute volume changes and increasing the mobility of lithium ions, but also offers conductive pathways along the whole interconnected wall in the structure, which is favourable for the transport of electrons, promotes liquid electrolyte diffusion into the bulk materials, and acts as a buffer zone to absorb the volume changes.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/shulei/23/