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Publication: Proline-derived in situ synthesis of nitrogen-doped porous carbon nanosheets with encaged Fe2O3@Fe3C nanoparticles for lithium-ion battery anodes

Prof. Yawen Tang and Prof. Dongmei Sun published their collaborative work in the journal of NANO RESEARCH (201709,10(9),3164-3177)

The homogeneous incorporation of heteroatoms into two-dimensional C nanostructures, which leads to an increased chemical reactivity and electrical conductivity as well as enhanced synergistic catalysis as a conductive matrix to disperse and encapsulate active nanocatalysts, is highly attractive and quite challenging. In this study, by using the natural and cheap hydrotropic amino acid proline-which has remarkably high solubility in water and a desirable N content of. 12.2 wt.%-as a C precursor pyrolyzed in the presence of a cubic KCl template, we developed a facile protocol for the large-scale production of N-doped C nanosheets with a hierarchically porous structure in a homogeneous dispersion. With concomitantly encapsulated and evenly spread Fe2O3 nanoparticles surrounded by two protective ultrathin layers of inner Fe3C and outer onion-like C, the resulting N-doped graphitic C nanosheet hybrids (Fe2O3@Fe3C-NGCNs) exhibited a very high Li-storage capacity and excellent rate capability with a reliable and prolonged cycle life. A reversible capacity as high as 857 mAh.g(-1) at a current density of 100 mA.g(-1) was observed even after 100 cycles. The capacity retention at a current density 10 times higher-1,000 mA.g(-1)-reached 680 mAh.g(-1), which is 79% of that at 100 mA.g(-1), indicating that the hybrids are promising as anodes for advanced Li-ion batteries. The results highlight the importance of the heteroatomic dopant modification of the NGCNs host with tailored electronic and crystalline structures for competitive Li-storage features.