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Investigation of Fe2O3/SiO2 Nanocomposite by Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopes and Transmission Electron Microscope

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The purpose of this research is to investigate the changes in structure, morphology and surface before and after the encapsulation process of maghemite nanoparticles into the silica matrix. In this research, Fe2O3/SiO2 nanocomposite was prepared by sol–gel technique. Maghemite nanoparticles were first produced using Massart's procedure and were then dispersed in silica xerogel matrix. The gel was prepared from typical sol–gel precursors consisting of tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS), tetrapropylammonium hydroxide solution (TPA) and deionized water at a weight ratio of 5:7:3. The system was heated continuously for 3 days at 140 °C. The structure, morphology and surface characteristics of the system were analysed by FESEM and TEM. The result from FESEM showed that the silica gel formed porous network structure, with an average pore size of 15 nm. EDX line profile analysis was carried out and the result indicated that the embedded particles were iron-based compound. EELS showed the presence of Fe–L2 signal, which confirmed the presence of iron containing particles within the silica matrix. The average diameters were 4.98 nm for as-synthesized maghemite nanoparticles, and 4.40 nm for the embedded maghemite nanoparticles in silica xerogel matrix. The embedded maghemite nanoparticles also showed a narrower distribution compared to as-synthesized particles. The magnetization values at 10 kOe applied field, Ms 10 kOe, were 9.53 emu/g and 1.79 emu/g for as-synthesized and embedded nanoparticles, respectively. A reduction in average crystallite size was observed for maghemite particles dispersed witin SiO2 matrix indicating occurance of slight dissolution of maghemite nanoparticles in silica gel.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2013

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  • ADVANCED SCIENCE LETTERS is an international peer-reviewed journal with a very wide-ranging coverage, consolidates research activities in all areas of (1) Physical Sciences, (2) Biological Sciences, (3) Mathematical Sciences, (4) Engineering, (5) Computer and Information Sciences, and (6) Geosciences to publish original short communications, full research papers and timely brief (mini) reviews with authors photo and biography encompassing the basic and applied research and current developments in educational aspects of these scientific areas.
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