Inhibition of Crystallite Growth in the Sol-Gel Synthesis of Nanocrystalline Metal Oxides

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Science  27 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5432, pp. 1375-1377
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5432.1375

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Crystal growth upon firing of hydrous transition metal oxide gels can be effectively inhibited by replacing the surface hydroxyl group before firing with another functional group that does not condense and that can produce small, secondary-phase particles that restrict advancing of grain boundaries at elevated temperatures. Accordingly, fully crystallized SnO2, TiO2, and ZrO2 materials with mean crystallite sizes of ∼20, 50, and 15 angstroms, respectively, were synthesized by replacing the hydroxyl group with methyl siloxyl before firing at 500°C. An ultrasensitive SnO2-based chemical sensor resulting from the microstructural miniaturization was demonstrated.

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