Fabrication of CeO2–Nd2O3 microspheres by internal gelation process using M(OH)m and [MCit∙xH2O] (M=Ce3+, Ce4+, and Nd3+) as precursors

  • Xueqiang Ding
  • Jingtao MaEmail author
  • Xiangwen Zhou
  • Xingyu Zhao
  • Shaochang Hao
  • Changsheng Deng
  • Guanxing Li
Original Paper: Fundamentals of sol-gel and hybrid materials processing


CeO2–Nd2O3 microspheres were successfully prepared by internal gelation process using M(OH)m and [MCit∙xH2O] (M = Ce3+, Ce4+, and Nd3+, Cit is (C6O7H5)3−) as precursors. The effects of Nd(NO3)3 content on the stability of precursor solution and on the microstructure of the sintered microspheres were investigated. The gelled microspheres and sintered composite microspheres were characterized by Fourier transform-infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy. The distribution of Nd3+ in the microspheres was also investigated by line scanning of SEM. The results indicated that the citrate salt in the gelled microspheres was [MCit∙xH2O] (M = Ce3+ and Nd3+). Compared with composite microspheres prepared with M(OH)m (M = Ce4+ and Nd3+) as a precursor, the mass fraction of Nd2O3 in composite microspheres prepared with [MCit∙xH2O] as a precursor highly coincided with the theoretical value. There was no concentration gradient in the microspheres and the distribution of Nd3+ was homogeneous. Phase composition of the composite microspheres was Ce0.75−xNd0.25+xO1.85 and CeO2.

The gelation process of microspheres prepared with hydroxide.


  • CeO2–Nd2O3 microspheres were prepared by internal gelation process with M(OH)m and [MCit∙xH2O] as precursors.

  • The mass fraction of Nd2O3 in composite microspheres prepared with [MCit∙xH2O] highly coincides with the theoretical value.

  • No concentration gradient existed in the microspheres and the distribution of Nd3+ was homogeneous.


Internal gelation process CeO2–Nd2O3 microspheres Cerium hydroxide Neodymium hydroxide Citrate salts 



This work was financially supported by the Key Program for International S&T Cooperation Projects of China (No. 2016YFE0100700), National Natural Science Foundation of China(No. 51420105006), and “The Thirteenth Five-Year Plan” Discipline Construction Foundation of Tsinghua University (No. 2017HYYXKJS1).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of New Ceramics and Fine Processing, Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Nuclear Energy Technology, Institute of Nuclear and New Energy TechnologyTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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