Preparation of core-shell Ti-Nb oxide nanocrystals

Abstract: Nanosized powders of Ti-Nb oxide core-shell nanocrystals with atomic ratios of Nb/Ti = 0.11, 0.25, and 0.38 have been prepared by two preparation routes. The first route was co-precipitation, followed by annealing, using NbCl5 as a source of Nb. The second route was coating of pure TiO2 nanocrystals by Nb-isopropoxide in liquid medium, followed by impregnation of the Nb into the nanoparticles by annealing. Both methods yielded anatase nanocrystals with a Nb-rich shell and a core, which had much lower Nb loadings. The anatase structure solid solution (with Nb incorporated) was stable under annealing up to 760°C. The particle size remained within the nanometric scale (<50 nm) under heat-treatment up to 760°C. It has been shown that the fabricated powders can be redispersed in aqueous media by simple ultrasound treatment, resulting in nanosized dispersions. Using a variety of analytical techniques, including depth profiling of single nanocrystallites by AES combined with sputtering by Ar ions, the mechanism of the core-shell structure creation was studied. It is proposed that the formation of the core-shell structure is governed by solubility limitations in the co-precipitation route and by solubility and diffusion limitations in the coating-incorporation route. The Publisher’s Site | Request a copy of this paper