Facile synthesis of C–FeF2 nanocomposites from CFx: influence of carbon precursor on reversible lithium storage†
Transition metal fluorides are an important class of cathode materials for lithium batteries owing to their high specific energy and safety. However, metal fluorides are electrical insulators, exhibiting slow reaction kinetics with Li. Consequently, metal fluorides can show poor electrochemical performance. Instead, carbon–metal fluoride nanocomposites (CMNFCs) were suggested to enhance electrochemical activity. Chemical synthesis of CMNFCs poses particular challenges due to the poor chemical stability of metal fluorides. Recently, we reported a facile one-step method to synthesize carbon–FeF2 nanocomposites by reacting fluorinated carbon (CFx) with iron pentacarbonyl (Fe(CO)5) at 250 °C. The method resulted in C–FeF2 nanocomposites with improved electrochemical properties. Here, we have synthesized four different C–FeF2 nanocomposites by reacting four different CFx precursors made of petro-coke, carbon black, graphite, and carbon-fibers with Fe(CO)5. Electrochemical performance of all four C–FeF2 nanocomposites was evaluated at 25 °C and 40 °C. It is shown that the nature of CFx has a critical impact on the electrochemical performance of the corresponding C–FeF2 nanocomposites. The C–FeF2 nanocomposites were characterized by using various experimental techniques such as X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, resistivity measurement, and 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy to shed light on the differences in electrochemical behaviour of different C–FeF2 nanocomposites.