The group is working on the synthesis of 1D iron oxide nanostructures for energy applications. The team discovered that the addition of Na2CO3 and FeCl2 in the hydrothermal process could bring about the formation of nanobelt structures of magnetite after attempting various additives and precursors. The method provides a simple and low-cost synthesis route compared with conventional approaches.

As shown in the image, Fe3O4 nanobelts with widths of 0.1–2 µm, thicknesses of about 10 nm and lengths of 20–30 µm are obtained. The researchers found that the amount of Na2CO3 played an important role in controlling both the morphology and crystal structures of the products. Time-dependent experiments revealed that the nanobelts grow from fractured nanosheets that are initially linked together at the very beginning of the reaction.

Battery configuration

The Fe3O4 nanobelts exhibit magnetic properties with a magnetic saturation value of 77.0 emu/g and deliver lithium storage performances with a high initial discharge capacity of 1090 mAh/g at a current rate of 500 mA/g and a reversible capacity of 404 mAh/g retained after 60 charge/discharge cycles. These results suggest that the Fe3O4 nanobelts might be promising for use as magnetic materials and for use in lithium batteries.

More information can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.