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Er-Doped Y2O3 Nanoparticles: A Comparison of Different Synthesis Methods

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Nanoparticles of erbium-doped yttria (Er:Y2O3) are important precursors to transparent ceramics for high-power solid-state lasers systems. As structure influences properties and, subsequently, performance the purpose of this work is to compare the morphological and chemical nature of the nanoparticles synthesized using two common methods: solution precipitation and combustion synthesis. A thorough characterization of as-prepared and calcined powders was performed using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, conventional and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, and Brunauer–Emmet–Teller methods. Solution precipitation was found to lead to two different precursor compositions (yttrium carbonate or yttrium hydroxide) depending on the precipitating reagent whereas combustion synthesis yielded only phase-pure, cubic Er:Y2O3. The hydroxide precipitation and combustion synthesis methods exhibited agglomerated particles with low surface area after calcining the precursors at 900°C. The addition of a small amount of ammonium sulfate during combustion synthesis was found to reduce the level of agglomeration, resultant particle size, and degree of crystallinity of the calcined Er:Y2O3 nanoparticles. The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) on the surface of the Er:Y2O3 powders is dependent on the powder surface area, however, increasing levels of gas absorption on the particle surfaces do not have a detrimental effect on the sinterability. The sintered density increases with increasing surface area and decreasing agglomeration.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Optical Materials Science and Engineering Technologies (COMSET) and the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Clemson University, Anderson, South Carolina 29625 2: Department of Chemistry, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29634

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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