A lightweight carbon nanofiber-based 3D structured matrix with high nitrogen-doping level for lithium metal anodes

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  • ReceivedApr 20, 2018
  • AcceptedMay 9, 2018
  • PublishedJun 4, 2018


Lithium metal is considered to be the most promising anode material for the next-generation rechargeable batteries. However, the uniform and dendrite-free deposition of Li metal anode is hard to achieve, hindering its practical applications. Herein, a lightweight, free-standing and nitrogen-doped carbon nanofiber-based 3D structured conductive matrix (NCNF), which is characterized by a robust and interconnected 3D network with high doping level of 9.5 at%, is prepared by electrospinning as the current collector for Li metal anode. Uniform Li nucleation with reduced polarization and dendrite-free Li deposition are achieved because the NCNF with high nitrogen-doping level and high conductivity provide abundant and homogenous metallic Li nucleation and deposition sites. Excellent cycling stability with high coulombic efficiency are realized. The Li plated NCNF was paired with LiFePO4 to assemble the full battery, also showing high cyclic stability.

Funded by

The authors acknowledge the financial support from the Guangdong Natural Science Funds for Distinguished Young Scholar(2017B030306006)

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(51772164,U1601206,U1710256)

the National Key Basic Research Program of China(2014CB932400)

and Shenzhen Technical Plan Project(JCYJ20150529164918734,JCYJ20170412171359175)


The authors acknowledge the financial support from the Guangdong Natural Science Funds for Distinguished Young Scholar (2017B030306006), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51772164, U1601206 and U1710256), the National Key Basic Research Program of China (2014CB932400), and Shenzhen Technical Plan Project (JCYJ20150529164918734 and JCYJ20170412171359175).

Interest statement

The authors declare no competing interest.

Contributions statement

Lv W and Yang QH conceived the project. Wu H designed and engineered the samples; Zhang Y, Deng Y, Huang Z and Zhang C helped the characterization. Wu H wrote the paper with support from Yang QH and Lv W. All authors contributed to the general discussion.

Author information

Haoliang Wu received his BSc degree in Applied Chemistry from Tianjin University in 2015 and continued his study as a master candidate under the guidance of Prof. Quan-Hong Yang till now. His research interest includes the design and fabrication of carbon nanostructure and novel electrode materials for energy storage devices.

Wei Lv received his PhD from Tianjin University in 2012 under the supervision of Prof. Quan-Hong Yang. He currently works as an Associate Professor in the Graduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua University. His research mainly focuses on novel carbon materials, such as graphene and porous carbons, and their applications in electrochemical energy storage.

Quan-Hong Yang was born in 1972, joined Tianjin University as a full professor of nanomaterials in 2006 and became a chair professor in 2016. His research is totally related to novel carbon materials, from porous carbons, tubular carbons to sheet-like graphenes with their applications in energy storage and environmental protection.


Supplementary information

Experimental details and supporting data are available in the online version of the paper.


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  • Figure 1

    Schematic of the metallic Li nucleation and plating on Cu foil (a), NCNF-1000 (b) and NCNF (c).

  • Figure 2

    SEM images of the PAN-based film (a) and NCNF (b). Nitrogen adsorption/desorption isotherm (c). Raman spectra of NCNF (d). XPS survey spectrum of NCNF (e) and deconvoluted spectra of N 1s (f).

  • Figure 3

    SEM images of the pristine Cu foil (a), NCNF (b), Cu foil with 0.5 mA h cm−2 deposited Li (c), NCNF with 0.5 mA h cm−2 deposited Li (d), Cu foil with 1 mA h cm−2 deposited Li (e) and NCNF with 1 mA h cm−2 deposited Li (f).

  • Figure 4

    Coulombic efficiency of Li plating/stripping on/from the Cu and the NCNF current collector for 1 mA h cm−2 Li at a current density of 1 mA cm−2 (a) and 2 mA h cm−2 Li at a current density of 2 mA cm−2 (b). Voltage profiles of the 5th, 20th, and 50th cycle of Cu foil and NCNF current collector with a cycling capacity of 4 mA h cm−2 Li at 2 mA cm−2 (c) and its magnified profiles from 1.5 mA h to 3 mA h (d). Cycling performance of full cells with Li@Cu and Li@NCNF as anode and LiFePO4 at 0.5 C (e) and its charge-discharge profile at 0.5 C (f).