Correlation between atomic structure and electrochemical performance of anodes made from electrospun carbon nanofiber films

Biao Zhang, Yang Yu, Zheng Long Xu, Sara Abouali, Mohammad Akbari, Yan Bing He, Feiyu Kang, Jang Kyo Kim

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


A systematic study is made of the effect of the nitrogen species on the performance of Li-ion storage and the capacities of carbon-based anodes in Li-ion batteries (LIBs). Electrospun carbon nanofiber (CNF) films are fabricated for use as binder-free electrodes using a polyacrylonitrile precursor. When the CNF films are subjected to carbonization, transformation occurs from an amorphous to a graphitic structure with associated reduction of nitrogen-containing functional groups. The structural change strongly affects where the Li ions are stored in the CNF electrodes. It is revealed that Li ions can be stored not only between the graphene layers, but also at the defect sites created by nitrogen functionalization. The latter is mainly responsible for the widely reported improved electrochemical performance of LIBs due to N-doping of carbon materials. An optimized carbonization temperature of 550 C is identified, which gives rise to a sufficiently high nitrogen content and thus a high capacity of the electrode. The role of the nitrogen species in Li-ion storage behavior of electrospun carbon nanofiber electrodes is investigated. It is identified that Li ions can be stored in both the graphene layers and defect sites induced by N-doping. A moderate carbonization temperature is suggested to maintain high nitrogen content and thereby achieve high capacities. KGaA, Weinheim.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1301448
JournalAdvanced Energy Materials
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • anodes
  • carbon nanofibers
  • electrospinning
  • Li-ion batteries
  • nitrogen doping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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