Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 88, Issue 2, pp 422–429 | Cite as

Improvement of structural and optical properties of ZnAl2O4:Cr3+ ceramics with surface modification by using various concentrations of zinc acetate

  • Dong ZhangEmail author
  • Chunyu Du
  • Jingxin Chen
  • Qiang Shi
  • Qingru Wang
  • Shuhong Li
  • Wenjun Wang
  • Xunling Yan
  • Quli Fan
Original Paper: Nano-structured materials (particles, fibers, colloids, composites, etc.)


The influence of surface modification with various concentrations of zinc acetate solution on the structural and optical properties of ZnAl2O4:Cr3+ particles was studied. The X-ray diffraction peaks assigned to the spinel structure of ZnAl2O4:Cr3+ powders revealed a tiny shift towards the lower angle, and ZnO phase was detected when ZnAl2O4:Cr3+ crystals surface was modified. The results of X-ray photoelectron spectra confirmed that the antisite defects related to tetrahedral Al existed in the surface lattices of zinc aluminate crystals. The signal intensity of XPS assigned to tetrahedral Al decreased after surface modification, while that of XPS assigned to octahedral Zn increased. The results of transmission electron microscope showed that the surface lattices of ZnAl2O4:Cr3+ particles became more ordered after surface modification, and zinc oxide nanocrystals were observed as a coating layer or dispersed particles surrounding ZnAl2O4:Cr3+ particles when the concentration of Zn(AC)2 solution increased up to 1.5 mol/L. The red emission assigned to Cr3+ ions in spinel lattices was detected at room temperature, and the emission intensity was enhanced when ZnAl2O4:Cr3+ crystals was modified. While the emission intensity was reduced when the concentration of Zn(AC)2 solution increased up to 1.5 mol/L.

ZnAl2O4:Cr3+ crystals were modified by using with various concentrations of zinc acetate (0.5 M, 1.0 M and 1.5 M). These crystals surfaces showed different morphologies, and the crystallinity and photoluminescence performances were enhanced.


  • The crystallinity of ZnAl2O4:Cr3+ crystals is improved by using surface modification.

  • The defects transform from AlZn to ZnAl after surface modification.

  • The PL intensity is 2.5 times than that of crystals without surface modification


Ceramics Zinc aluminate Surface defects Photoluminescence 



This work was supported by Initial Foundation for Doctor Project of Liaocheng University (No. 318051410), the Project of Science and Technology Plan for University of Shandong Province (No. J16LJ05), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 61574071, No.61775089, No. 11604132, No. 11604133), Industrial Alliance Fund of Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory (Grant No.SDKL2016038) and ‘Taishan scholars’ construction special fund of Shandong Province.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dong Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Chunyu Du
    • 1
  • Jingxin Chen
    • 1
  • Qiang Shi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qingru Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shuhong Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wenjun Wang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xunling Yan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Quli Fan
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Physical Science and Information TechnologyLiaocheng UniversityLiaochengChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Optical Communication Science and Technology of Shandong ProvinceLiaocheng UniversityLiaochengChina
  3. 3.Institute of Advanced MaterialsNanjing University of Posts and TelecommunicationsNanjingChina

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