WS2 nanoplates embedded in graphitic carbon nanotubes with excellent electrochemical performance for lithium and sodium storage

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  • ReceivedOct 23, 2017
  • AcceptedDec 18, 2017
  • PublishedJan 12, 2018


WS2 has been considered as a promising anode material due to its high lithium storage capacity as well as fascinating physical properties. However, the insufficient electrical and ionic conductivities deteriorate the rate performance of the batteries. Herein, we report a simple synthetic approach towards graphene-WS2 hybrids by rolling graphene into a hollow nanotube in which WS2 nanoplates are encapsulated. This new electrode design strategy facilitates the fabrication of integrated and binder-free lithium ion battery and sodium ion battery electrodes by combining electrospinning and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods. Benefiting from their confined growth and the interconnected in-situ graphitic carbon coating nanocable web, the WS2@G with nano-level WS2 dispersion not only provides an efficiently conductive and electrolyte accessible framework, but effectively alleviates the volume change during the cycling, enabling a mechanically robust binder-free electrode along with the outstanding electrochemical Li+ and Na+ storage properties.

Funded by

the Ministry of Science and Technology of China(No.2012CB933403)

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(51425302,51302045,5170021056)

Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission(Z121100006812003)

the Opening Project of State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Float Glass

and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2012CB933403), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51425302, 51302045 and 5170021056), Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Commission (Z121100006812003), the Opening Project of State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Float Glass, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Contributions statement

Kong D and Qiu X designed and engineered the samples; Wang B, Xiao Z, Gao Y helped to carry out the characterization; Kong D wrote the paper with support from Zhi L and Yang Q-H. All authors contributed to the general discussion.

Author information

Debin Kong received his BSc and PhD in applied chemistry from Tianjin University under the guidance of Prof. Linjie Zhi and Prof. Quan-Hong Yang. Now he continues his scientific research as an Assistant Professor in the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology. His research interests mainly focus on the design and fabrication of novel carbon nanostructure and novel electrode materials for energy conversion and storage.

Xiongying Qiu received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is currently an Engineer at the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology of China. His research interests mainly focus on graphene based materials and engineering research of energy storage device.

Quan-Hong Yang was born in 1972, joined Tianjin University as a full professor of nanomaterials in 2006 and became a chair professor in 2016. His research is related to novel carbon materials, from porous carbons, tubular carbons to sheet-like graphenes with their applications in energy storage and environmental protection. See http://nanoyang.tju.edu.cn for more details.

Linjie Zhi received his PhD in 2000 at the Institute of Coal Chemistry, CAS. Since 2003 he had been working with Prof. Müllen at Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research for two years before assuming the position of project leader there until the end of 2007. He is currently a professor at the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology of China. His research interests focus on carbon-rich materials and their application in energy-related areas.


Supplementary information

Supporting data are available in the online version of the paper.


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  • Figure 1

    Electrode design. (a) Schematic illustration of the formation procedures; (b) SEM images and scheme of a single nanocable of WS2@G; (c) top view and side view images of the atomic structures of the layered WS2 nanoplates.

  • Figure 2

    Morphology and microstructure. (a) TEM image of WS2@G. Scale bar, 0.2 μm. (b, c) HRTEM images of WS2@G. Scale bar, 10 nm. (d) Dark field transmission electron microscopy image and mapping of WS2@G. Scale bar, 100 nm.

  • Figure 3

    Component analyses. (a) XRD pattern of WS2@G and WS2 powder, (b) Raman analysis of WS2@G and WO3@G.

  • Figure 4

    Electrochemical performance of WS2@G as LIBs anodes. (a) The charge/discharge curves of WS2@G, (b) cycling performance of WS2@G and WS2 powder electrodes under 0.5 A g−1, (c) reversible capacity of WS2@G and WS2 powder at various current rates from 0.2 to 5 A g−1, (d) Nyquist plots of the WS2@G and WS2 powder.

  • Figure 5

    Electrochemical performance of WS2@G as SIBs anodes. (a) Cycling performance of WS2@G electrodes under 0.5 A g−1, (b) reversible capacity of WS2@G at various current rates from 0.05 to 3 A g−1.

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