Graphene oxide hydrogel as a restricted-area nanoreactor for synthesis of 3D graphene-supported ultrafine TiO2 nanorod nanocomposites for high-rate lithium-ion battery anodes
Three-dimensional graphene-supported TiO2 nanorod nanocomposites (3D GS-TNR) are prepared using graphene oxide hydrogel as a restricted-area nanoreactor in the hydrothermal process, in which well-distributed TiO2 nanorods with a width of approximately 5 nm and length of 30 nm are conformally embedded in the 3D interconnected graphene network. The 3D graphene oxide not only works as a restricted-area nanoreactor to constrain the size, distribution and morphology of the TiO2; it also work as a highly interconnected conducting network to facilitate electrochemical reactions and maintain good structural integration when the nanocomposites are used as anode materials in lithium-ion batteries. Benefiting from the nanostructure, the 3D GS-TNR nanocomposites show high capacity and excellent long-term cycling capability at high current rates. The 3D GS-TNR composites deliver a high initial charge capacity of 280 mAh g-1 at 0.2 C and maintain a reversible capacity of 115 mAh g-1, with a capacity retention of 83% at 20 C after 1000 cycles. Meanwhile, compared with that of previously reported TiO2-based materials, the 3D GS-TNR nanocomposites show much better performance, including higher capacity, better rate capability and long-term cycling stability.