pp 1–9 | Cite as

Facile hydrogel-derived sub-10 nm tin–iron alloy embedded in 3D carbon nanocorals with improved cycle life and rate capability

  • Anping Zhang
  • Hongxia Shi
  • Weiqi Liu
  • Xiaojun WangEmail author
  • Yiming Zhou
  • Ping WuEmail author
Original Paper


Tin-based alloys have been regarded as promising anodes to replace commercial carbon materials for Li-ion batteries, but their Li-storage performance, especially cycle life, still fails to meet the requirements for electric vehicles and large-scale electricity storages. Herein, we propose a facile and scalable hydrogel-derived route for uniformly immobilizing sub-10 nm Sn-based alloys within three-dimensional (3D) carbon nanocorals, using polymer-hybridized cyano-bridged coordination polymer hydrogels (cyanogels) as precursors. As a representative example, 3D Sn–Fe@C nanocorals have been constructed through freeze-drying and thermal-autoreduction processes using polyethylene glycol (PEG) hybridized Sn(IV)–Fe(II) cyanogels as precursors. PEG plays critical roles in structural tailoring of hybrid cyanogels and size control of Sn–Fe alloys, and as a result, the average alloy size in optimized Sn–Fe@C nanocoral is only 5.9 nm. The ultrasmall alloy size, uniform dispersity of alloy, as well as coral-like framework structure, enable the Sn–Fe@C nanocorals to exhibit long-term cyclic life and high-rate performance.


Li-ion batteries Tin-based alloy anodes Ultrasmall alloys Nanocoral structure Hydrogels 


Funding information

This study is financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51401110) and a project funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.

Supplementary material

11581_2019_3080_MOESM1_ESM.doc (2.9 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 2988 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jiangsu Key Laboratory of New Power Batteries, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Biomedical Functional Materials, School of Chemistry and Materials ScienceNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Biodiversity and Biotechnology, School of Biological SciencesNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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