A new ternary Sn-Ni-P alloy rods array electrode for lithium-ion batteries is synthesized by electrodeposition with a Cu nanorods array structured foil as current collector. The Cu nanorods array foil is fabricated by heat treatment and electrochemical reduction of Cu(OH)2 nanorods film, which is grown directly on Cu substrate through an oxidation method. The Sn-Ni-P alloy rods array electrode is mainly composed of pure Sn, Ni3Sn4 and Ni-P phases. The electrochemical experimental results illustrate that the Sn-Ni-P alloy rods array electrode has high reversible capacity and excellent coulombic efficiency, with an initial discharge capacity and charge capacity of 785.0 mAh g-1 and 567.8 mAh g-1, respectively. After the 100th discharge-charge cycling, capacity retention is 94.2% with a value of 534.8 mAh g-1. The electrode also performs with an excellent rate capacity. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.