MnO@Carbon core-shell nanowires as stable high-performance anodes for lithium-ion batteries
A facile method is presented for the large-scale preparation of rationally designed mesocrystalline MnO@carbon core-shell nanowires with a jointed appearance. The nanostructures have a unique arrangement of internally encapsulated highly oriented and interconnected MnO nanorods and graphitized carbon layers forming an external coating. Based on a comparison and analysis of the crystal structures of MnOOH, Mn2O3, and MnO@C, we propose a sequential topotactic transformation of the corresponding precursors to the products. Very interestingly, the individual mesoporous single-crystalline MnO nanorods are strongly interconnected and maintain the same crystallographic orientation, which is a typical feature of mesocrystals. When tested for their applicability to Li-ion batteries (LIB), the MnO@carbon core-shell nanowires showed excellent capacity retention, superior cycling performance, and high rate capability. Specifically, the MnO@carbon core-shell nanostructures could deliver reversible capacities as high as 801 mA h g -1 at a high current density of 500 mA g-1, with excellent electrochemical stability after testing over 200 cycles, indicating their potential application in LIBs. The remarkable electrochemical performance can mainly be attributed to the highly uniform carbon layer around the MnO nanowires, which is not only effective in buffering the structural strain and volume variations of anodes during repeated electrochemical reactions, but also greatly enhances the conductivity of the electrode material. Our results confirm the feasibility of using these rationally designed composite materials for practical applications. The present strategy is simple but very effective, and appears to be sufficiently versatile to be extended to other high-capacity electrode materials with large volume variations and low electrical conductivities.