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Microwave-assisted non-aqueous synthesis of metal oxides nanoparticles

Idalia Bilecka ,  Igor Djerdj ,  Markus Niederberger 

ETH Zürich (ETHZ), Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 10, Zürich 8093, Switzerland


The development of new synthetic routes for inorganic nanomaterials should take into account the necessity of being fast, energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The low-temperature solvothermal synthesis of metal oxides in benzyl alcohol has been successfully applied for the preparation of a broad variety of metal oxides. This non aqueous sol gel route is based on the reaction of metal organic precursors with benzyl alcohol and offers the possibility to tailor the particles size and shape by choosing the appropriate reaction conditions. Another technique that has been developed during the last ten years is microwave-assisted synthetic organic chemistry.

This non-classical heating technique is well known to dramatically reduce the reaction time from hours to minutes or even seconds. The objective of this work is to combine both advantages, the robust solvothermal synthesis and the rapid and efficient microwave heating, for the fast preparation of various nanocrystalline metal oxides. The as-obtained particles are characterized by powder X-ray diffraction, TEM and HRTEM.

We present here a one minute synthesis of highly crystalline nanoparticles of iron oxide, cobalt oxide and zinc oxide. These nanocrystalline particles could be synthesized by choosing carefully the metal organic precursor and the organic solvent. A complete microwave heating protocol was developed with specific temperature, pressure and microwave power. In addition to the short reaction times, the microwave- assisted solvothermal synthesis method is characterized by high yields and the possibility to control the crystal size through the reaction time. These advantages make microwave-assised non-aqueous synthesis a highly efficient and promising technique for the production of metal oxide nanoparticles for chemical, pharmaceutical and biological applications.


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Related papers

Presentation: Poster at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2007, Symposium A, by Idalia Bilecka
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2007

Submitted: 2007-06-12 15:39
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:44