Nature communications

Phase and composition controllable synthesis of cobalt manganese spinel nanoparticles towards efficient oxygen electrocatalysis.

PMID 26040417


Spinel-type oxides are technologically important in many fields, including electronics, magnetism, catalysis and electrochemical energy storage and conversion. Typically, these materials are prepared by conventional ceramic routes that are energy consuming and offer limited control over shape and size. Moreover, for mixed-metal oxide spinels (for example, Co(x)Mn(3-x)O4), the crystallographic phase sensitively correlates with the metal ratio, posing great challenges to synthesize active product with simultaneously tuned phase and composition. Here we report a general synthesis of ultrasmall cobalt manganese spinels with tailored structural symmetry and composition through facile solution-based oxidation-precipitation and insertion-crystallization process at modest condition. As an example application, the nanocrystalline spinels catalyse the oxygen reduction/evolution reactions, showing phase and composition co-dependent performance. Furthermore, the mild synthetic strategy allows the formation of homogeneous and strongly coupled spinel/carbon nanocomposites, which exhibit comparable activity but superior durability to Pt/C and serve as efficient catalysts to build rechargeable Zn-air and Li-air batteries.