Widatallah, H. M.; Al-Rawas, A. D.; Johnson, C.; Al-Harthi, S. H.; Gismelseed, A. M.; Moore, E. A. and Stewart, S. J.
The Formation of Nanocrystalline SrFeO3−δ Using Mechano-Synthesis and Subsequent Sintering: Structural and Mössbauer Studies.
Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 9(4)
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The influence of mechanical milling and subsequent sintering of a 2:1 molar mixture of SrCO3 and α-Fe2O3 on the formation of SrFeO3−δ pervoskite-related nanocrystalline particles is investigated. The structural evolution during the formation process is systematically investigated using X-ray diffraction, thermal analysis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and Mössbauer spectroscopy. Premilling the mixture in air for 120 h leads to the incorporation of Sr2+ in the α-Fe2O3 crystal structure thus facilitating the formation of a 2:1 nanocrystalline mixture of SrFeO3 and SrFeO2.875 by sintering the pre-milled mixture in air at 800 °C (12 h). This temperature is ∼300 °C lower than those at which SrFeO3−δ phases are synthesized by the conventional ceramic techniques. Pre-milling the precursors was found to result in a smaller oxygen deficiency (δ) relative to conventional ceramic synthesis of SrFeO3−δ. Rietveld refinement of the X-ray diffraction shows the interatomic distances in the resulting SrFeO2.875 nanocrystalline phase to be slightly different from those of the conventionally prepared bulk leading, in turn, to a crystal structure with tilted polyhedral cationic sites. This structural distortion is related to both small-size and surface effects in the nanoparticles that have no counterparts in the corresponding bulk material. The surface structure of the attained SrFeO3−δ nanocrystalline particles shows a significant partial reduction of Fe4+ to Fe3+ due to ambient conditions and the presence of an appreciable amount of SrCO3 as well.
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