Hollow silica–copper–carbon anodes using copper metal–organic frameworks as skeletons†
Hollow silica–copper–carbon (H-SCC) nanocomposites are first synthesized using copper metal–organic frameworks as skeletons to form Cu-MOF@SiO2 and then subjected to heat treatment. In the composites, the hollow structure and the void space from the collapse of the MOF skeleton can accommodate the huge volume change, buffer the mechanical stress caused by lithium ion insertion/extraction and maintain the structural integrity of the electrode and a long cycling stability. The ultrafine copper with a uniform size of around 5 nm and carbon with homogeneous distribution from the decomposition of the MOF skeleton can not only enhance the electrical conductivity of the composite and preserve the structural and interfacial stabilization, but also suppress the aggregation of silica nanoparticles and cushion the volume change. In consequence, the resulting material as an anode for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) delivers a reversible capacity of 495 mA h g−1 after 400 cycles at a current density of 500 mA g−1. The synthetic method presented in this paper provides a facile and low-cost strategy for the large-scale production of hollow silica/copper/carbon nanocomposites as an anode in LIBs.