Journal of Materials Research

Invited Feature Paper

Transforming large-scale industrially produced carbon nanotubes to high-performance electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries

Hong-Li Zhanga1 c1 and Daniel E. Morsea1 c2

a1 Center for Energy Efficient Materials and Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106


Large-scale industrial production of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) has recently become available, but there are relatively few reports of the investigation of these industrially produced bulk CNTs as potential electrode materials for electrochemical energy storage such as lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Here, we report our evaluation of the electrochemical performance of the industrially produced CNTs from one manufacturer and our utilization of a kinetically controlled, vapor diffusion synthesis method combined with in-situ carbothermal reduction to homogeneously grow nanocrystalline tin (Sn) particles (∼200 nm) in the matrix of the CNTs, yielding a Sn@CNTs composite. After surface coating with a layer of carbon coating (3–4 nm), this composite was transformed to a surface-modified Sn@CNTs composite that exhibited much higher reversible capacity, initial Coulombic efficiency, and rate capacity than the pristine CNTs as anode materials for LIB.

(Received August 08 2011)

(Accepted October 27 2011)

(Online publication December 13 2011)

Key Words:

  • Sn;
  • Electrical properties;
  • Composite


c1 Address all correspondence to these authors. e-mail:

c2 e-mail:


This paper has been selected as an Invited Feature Paper.