Binary transition-metal oxides (BTMOs) with hierarchical micro–nano-structures have attracted great interest as potential anode materials for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Herein, we report the fabrication of hierarchical cauliflower-like CoFe2O4 (cl-CoFe2O4) via a facile room-temperature co-precipitation method followed by post-synthetic annealing. The obtained cauliflower structure is constructed by the assembly of microrods, which themselves are composed of small nanoparticles. Such hierarchical micro–nano-structure can promote fast ion transport and stable electrode–electrolyte interfaces. As a result, the cl-CoFe2O4 can deliver a high specific capacity (1019.9 mAh g−1 at 0.1 A g−1), excellent rate capability (626.0 mAh g−1 at 5 A g−1), and good cyclability (675.4 mAh g−1 at 4 A g−1 for over 400 cycles) as an anode material for LIBs. Even at low temperatures of 0 °C and −25 °C, the cl-CoFe2O4 anode can deliver high capacities of 907.5 and 664.5 mAh g−1 at 100 mA g−1, respectively, indicating its wide operating temperature. More importantly, the full-cell assembled with a commercial LiFePO4 cathode exhibits a high rate performance (214.2 mAh g−1 at 5000 mA g−1) and an impressive cycling performance (612.7 mAh g−1 over 140 cycles at 300 mA g−1) in the voltage range of 0.5–3.6 V. Kinetic analysis reveals that the electrochemical performance of cl-CoFe2O4 is dominated by pseudocapacitive behavior, leading to fast Li+ insertion/extraction and good cycling life.
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