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Binder-Free α-MnO2 Nanowires on Carbon Cloth as Cathode Material for Zinc-Ion Batteries

Recently, rechargeable zinc-ion batteries (ZIBs) have gained a considerable amount of attention due to their high safety, low toxicity, abundance, and low cost. Traditionally, a composite manganese oxide (MnO2) and a conductive carbon having a polymeric binder are used as a positive electrode. In general, a binder is employed to bond all materials together and to prevent detachment and dissolution of the active materials. Herein, the synthesis of α-MnO2 nanowires on carbon cloth via a simple one-step hydrothermal process and its electrochemical performance, as a binder-free cathode in aqueous and nonaqueous-based ZIBs, is duly reported. Morphological and elemental analyses reveal a single crystal α-MnO2 having homogeneous nanowire morphology with preferential growth along {001}. It is significant that analysis of the electrochemical performance of the α-MnO2 nanowires demonstrates more stable capacity and superior cyclability in a dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) electrolyte ZIB than in an aqueous electrolyte system. This is because DMSO can prevent irreversible proton insertion as well as unfavorable dendritic zinc deposition. The application of the binder-free α-MnO2 nanowires cathode in DMSO can promote follow-up research on the high cyclability of ZIBs.

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