PbS hollow spheres were successfully prepared by a sodium citrate-assisted hydrothermal process at 120 °C for 12 h, employing lead acetate trihydrate, thiourea and sodium citrate as precursors. The diameter of PbS hollow spheres is 200–400 nm, which is composed of about 50–80 nm nanoparticles. The synthesized product was characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), electron diffraction (ED), Fourier transform-infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible spectrometer (UV-vis) and near-infrared absorption spectrometer (NIR). The effects of the reaction conditions on morphologies of PbS structures were investigated. Star-shaped and flat PbS crystals were obtained by changing some experiment conditions. The results show that temperature, sodium citrate concentration, sulfur sources and solvent play key roles on the final morphologies formation of PbS crystals. Especially, ED result indicates that PbS hollow spheres hold single crystal-like electron diffraction patterns. And the possible formation mechanism of hollow spheres was proposed.
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