Li-rich layered materials are considered to be the promising low-cost cathodes for lithium-ion batteries but they suffer from poor rate capability despite of efforts toward surface coating or foreign dopings. Here, spinel-layered Li-rich Li-Mn-Co-O microspheres are reported as a new high-rate cathode material for Li-ion batteries. The synthetic procedure is relatively simple, involving the formation of uniform carbonate precursor under solvothermal conditions and its subsequent transformation to an assembled microsphere that integrates a spinel-like component with a layered component by a heat treatment. When calcined at 700 °C, the amount of transition metal Mn and Co in the Li-Mn-Co-O microspheres maintained is similar to at 800 °C, while the structures of constituent particles partially transform from 2D to 3D channels. As a consequence, when tested as a cathode for lithium-ion batteries, the spinel-layered Li-rich Li-Mn-Co-O microspheres obtained at 700 °C show a maximum discharge capacity of 185.1 mA h g−1 at a very high current density of 1200 mA g−1 between 2.0 and 4.6 V. Such a capacity is among the highest reported to date at high charge-discharge rates. Therefore, the present spinel-layered Li-rich Li-Mn-Co-O microspheres represent an attractive alternative to high-rate electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries.
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