In this work, we report the simple solid-state formation of mesoporous Co3O4 nano-needles with a 3D single-crystalline framework. The synthesis is based on controlled thermal oxidative decomposition and re-crystallization of precursor β-Co(OH)2 nano-needles. Importantly, after thermal treatment, the needle-like morphology can be completely preserved, despite the fact that there is a large volume contraction accompanying the process: β-Co(OH)2 → Co3O4. Because of the intrinsic crystal contraction, a highly mesoporous structure with high specific surface area has been simultaneously created. The textual properties can be easily tailored by varying the annealing temperature between 200–400 °C. Interestingly, thermal re-crystallization at higher temperatures leads to the formation of a perfect 3D single-crystalline framework. Thus derived mesoporous Co3O4 nano-needles serve as a good model system for the study of lithium storage properties. The optimized sample manifests very low initial irreversible loss (21%), ultrahigh capacity, and excellent cycling performance. For example, a reversible capacity of 1079 mA h g−1 can be maintained after 50 cycles. The superior electrochemical performance and ease of synthesis may suggest their practical use in lithium-ion batteries.
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