Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 176–188 | Cite as

Chlorine-free, monolithic lanthanide series rare earth oxide aerogels via epoxide-assisted sol-gel method

  • M. A. WorsleyEmail author
  • J. Ilsemann
  • Th. M. Gesing
  • V. Zielasek
  • A. J. Nelson
  • R. A. S. Ferreira
  • L. D. Carlos
  • A. E. Gash
  • M. Bäumer
Original Paper: Nano- and macroporous materials (aerogels, xerogels, cryogels, etc.)


Synthesis of chlorine-free, rare earth oxide aerogels from the lanthanide series was achieved using a modified epoxide-assisted sol-gel method. An ethanolic solution of the hydrated metal nitrate, propylene oxide, and ammonium carbonate was found to gel upon heating to 333 K. Critical point drying of the wet gel in CO2 yielded monolithic aerogels. Most of the aerogels were amorphous as-prepared, but became nano-crystalline after calcination at 923 K in air. The aerogels had high surface areas (up to 150 m2/g), low densities (40–225 mg/cm3), and were photoluminescent.


  • Rare earth oxide aerogels were prepared by epoxide-assisted sol-gel route.

  • Rare earth oxide aerogels are monolithic, chlorine-free, and possess large surface areas.

  • Calcination at 923 K results in nano-crystalline aerogels, with particles less than 25 nm in diameter.

  • Characterization of these aerogels includes photoluminescence spectroscopy, Rietveld refinements, and electron microscopy.


Rare earth oxide Aerogel Sol-gel Monolith Catalyst Photoluminescence Rietveld refinement 



We like to thank the German Science Foundation (DFG) for financial support in the scientific large instrument program under the project number INST144/435-1FUGG. JI and MB gratefully acknowledge funding by the DFG through the graduate school 1860 “Micro-, meso- and macroporous nonmetallic Materials: Fundamentals and Applications”. This work is partially developed in the scope of the projects CICECO—Aveiro Institute of Materials (UID/CTM/50011/2013) financed by national funds through the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia/Ministério da Educação e Ciência (FCT/MEC) and when applicable co-financed by FEDER under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement. We acknowledge the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (Bremen, Germany) for the provision of access to their TEM facility and Karsten Thiel for assistance. This work was performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344, through LDRD awards 13-LW-099 and 16-ERD-051.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10971_2018_4811_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21.2 mb)
Supplementary information


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Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. Worsley
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Ilsemann
    • 2
  • Th. M. Gesing
    • 3
    • 4
  • V. Zielasek
    • 2
  • A. J. Nelson
    • 1
  • R. A. S. Ferreira
    • 5
  • L. D. Carlos
    • 5
  • A. E. Gash
    • 1
  • M. Bäumer
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Physical and Life Sciences DivisionLawrence Livermore National LaboratoryLivermoreUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Applied and Physical Chemistry & Center for Environmental Research and Sustainable TechnologyUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
  3. 3.Solid State Chemical Crystallography, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and CrystallographyUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
  4. 4.MAPEX Center for Materials and ProcessesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
  5. 5.Department of Physics and CICECO—Aveiro Institute of MaterialsUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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