Three-dimensional (3D) network structure has been envisioned as a superior architecture for lithium ion battery (LIB) electrodes, which enhances both ion and electron transport to significantly improve battery performance. Herein, a 3D carbon nano-network is fabricated through chemical vapor deposition of carbon on a scalably manufactured 3D porous anodic alumina (PAA) template. As a demonstration on the applicability of 3D carbon nano-network for LIB electrodes, the low conductivity active material, TiO2, is then uniformly coated on the 3D carbon nano-network using atomic layer deposition. High power performance is demonstrated in the 3D C/TiO2 electrodes, where the parallel tubes and gaps in the 3D carbon nano-network facilitates fast Li ion transport. A large areal capacity of ~0.37mAh·cm-2 is achieved due to the large TiO2 mass loading in the 60μm-thick 3D C/TiO2 electrodes. At a test rate of C/5, the 3D C/TiO2 electrode with 18nm-thick TiO2 delivers a high gravimetric capacity of ~240mAhg-1, calculated with the mass of the whole electrode. A long cycle life of over 1000 cycles with a capacity retention of 91% is demonstrated at 1C. The effects of the electrical conductivity of carbon nano-network, ion diffusion, and the electrolyte permeability on the rate performance of these 3D C/TiO2 electrodes are systematically studied.
Tian, M., Wang, W., Liu, Y., Jungjohann, K. L., Thomas Harris, C., Lee, Y. C., & Yang, R. (2015). A three-dimensional carbon nano-network for high performance lithium ion batteries. Nano Energy, 11, 500–509. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nanoen.2014.11.006