We fabricated a composite of self-standing carbon nanofibers (CNFs) and nanorod-like SnO2 (CNF@SnO2) for use as an anode for a lithium-ion battery (LIB), via electrospinning and hydrothermal synthesis methods using naturally abundant, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective materials. The composite electrode is flexible and can be directly used as an LIB anode without a metal collector. The nanorod-like structure of SnO2 accommodates the dramatic volume expansion intrinsic to SnO2 during charge-discharge cycles, increases the specific surface area, and decreases the charge-Transfer resistance. CNF@SnO2 exhibits a discharge capacity of 800 mAh g-1 under 0.5 A g-1 during the second cycle, 2.8 times higher than the capacity of the CNF-only electrode (285 mAh g-1 under the same condition). This high capacity is realized by the high reversibility of the conversion reaction of SnO2, arising from its well-organized nanostructure. Further, CNF@SnO2 shows excellent rate capability; it maintains 49% of its second discharge capacity at current densities reaching 4.0 A g-1. This high rate capability is attributed to the high degree of CNF graphitization. Overall, CNF@SnO2 exhibits a high capacity, good rate capability, and excellent potential as a candidate LIB anode material.
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