Size and Size Distribution Control of γ-Fe2O3 Nanocrystallites: An in Situ Study

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The formation and growth of maghemite (gamma-Fe2O3) nanocrystals during the hydrothermal synthesis from aqueous solutions of ammonium iron(III) citrate (C6H8O7 center dot xFe(III)center dot yNH(3)) have been studied by in situ powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD). Data analysis by Rietveld refinement and whole powder pattern modeling (WPPM) reveals that the crystallite size and size distribution can be precisely tuned through simple adjustments of the reaction temperature and time. Increasing the reaction temperature causes faster growth and results in larger crystallites while the size distribution broaden as reaction times increase, regardless of temperature. The crystallization kinetics were investigated by fitting the Johnson-Mehl-Avrami-Kolmogorov (JMAK) kinetic model to the growth curves. The activation energy was found to be 67(15) kJ/mol, and the limiting mechanisms of crystallite formation were determined. The growth was studied with various precursor compositions of ammonium iron(III) citrate and Fe(NO3)(3)center dot 9H(2)O or FeCl3 center dot 6H(2)O. Increasing the fraction of Fe(NO3)(3)center dot 9H(2)O in the precursor results in larger maghemite nanocrystallites. The addition of Fe(NO3)(3)center dot 9H(2)O also results in the formation of the thermodynamically more stable hematite (alpha-Fe2O3) phase as a byproduct.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCrystal Growth & Design
Volume14
Issue3
Pages (from-to)1307-1313
Number of pages7
ISSN1528-7483
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Research areas

  • X-RAY-DIFFRACTION, MAGNETITE NANOPARTICLES, SUPERCRITICAL FLUIDS, HYDROTHERMAL CONDITIONS, INORGANIC MATERIALS, LINE-PROFILES, GROWTH, MAGHEMITE, KINETICS, POWDER

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