SnO2 nanoparticles were prepared via a sol–gel method by heating the mixture of hydrous SnO2 nanoparticles and SiO2 nanospheres at 600 °C. The average particle size of the obtained SnO2 nanoparticles is 3.3 nm, smaller than that of the SnO2 nanoparticles (∼6.4 nm) prepared by calcining the pure hydrous SnO2 at 600 °C. The restricting effect of SiO2 on the growth of SnO2 nanoparticles was discussed by Raman spectra. A blue shift of A1g and B2g Raman modes in SnO2/SiO2 composite was observed, and it was considered to be a compressive stress effect. The obtained SnO2 nanoparticles with a size of about 3.3 nm exhibit enhanced ethanol response at room temperature, and their recovery time is much shorter than that of the SnO2 nanocrystals with a size of about 6.4 nm.
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