Bioinspired carbon/SnO2 composite anodes prepared from a photonic hierarchical structure for lithium batteries
A carbon/SnO2 composite (C-SnO2) with hierarchical photonic structure was fabricated from the templates of butterfly wings. We have investigated for the first time its application as the anode material for lithium-ion batteries. It was demonstrated to have high reversible capacities, good cycling stability, and excellent high-rate discharge performance, as shown by a capacitance of ~572 mAh g−1 after 100 cycles, 4.18 times that of commercial SnO2 powder (137 mAh g−1); a far better recovery capability of 94.3% was observed after a step-increase and sudden-recovery current. An obvious synergistic effect was found between the porous, hierarchically photonic microstructure and the presence of carbon; the synergy guarantees an effective flow of electrolyte and a short diffusion length of lithium ions, provides considerable buffering room, and prevents aggregation of SnO2 particles in the discharge/charge processes. This nature-inspired strategy points out a new direction for the fabrication of alternative anode materials.