PH-driven dissolution–precipitation: a novel route toward ultrathin Ni(OH)2 nanosheets array on nickel foam as binder-free anode for Li-ion batteries with ultrahigh capacity
In this paper, for the first time, we report on the growth of ultrathin Ni(OH)2 nanosheet arrays on a nickel foam (NF) via a novel pH-driven dissolution–precipitation route, carried out by a hydrothermal treatment of the NF in an acidic medium without the introduction of other nickel sources. Acid etching of the NF surface leads to nano-pits and produces Ni(H2O)n2+ ions at the early stage of the reaction. With the elapsed time, an increase in the pH level occurs and the Ni(H2O)n2+ ions gradually hydrolyze and preferentially precipitate on the nano-pits, serving as nucleation sites and leading to ultrathin Ni(OH)2 nanosheet arrays on an NF. The effects of the experimental parameters, such as reaction time, acid type and starting pH value, on the Ni(OH)2 growth are also investigated. Because the nano-pits are integrated parts of the NF and the deposition of Ni(OH)2 nanosheets on such nano-pits ensures intimate contact between them, the Ni(OH)2/NF is robust enough to withstand a violent sonication process and efficient and rapid electron transfer is achieved. As a binder-free anode for Li-ion batteries, the Ni(OH)2/NF exhibits an unexpected ultrahigh capacity of 1689 mA h g−1 and excellent cycling stability.