The influence of Sc3+ ions on the microstructure, electrical, and gas-sensing properties of Ni–Co–Sc ferrite

  • C. DorofteiEmail author
  • L. Leontie
Original Paper: Sol-gel and hybrid materials for catalytic, photoelectrochemical and sensor applications


The influence of Sc3+ ion content on the microstructure, electrical, and gas-sensing properties of Ni0.5Co0.5ScxFe2–xO4 (x = 0.0, 0.05, 0.1 and 0.2) ferrites synthesized by a novel self-combustion method using polyvinyl alcohol as the colloidal medium, was studied. X-ray diffraction, X-ray photon spectroscopy (XPS), Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) surface area, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX) were employed to characterize the structure and morphology properties of these ferrites. The gas-sensing properties of hydrogen, methane, ethanol, methylene chloride, and benzene were investigated. The samples show p-type semiconducting properties for the studied gases within the temperature range of 100–380 °C. The results revealed that the partial substitution of Fe3+ by Sc3+ ions on the octahedral sites of the spinel structure of Ni0.5Co0.5Fe2O4 ferrite has a favorable effect on the sensing activity of this ferrite. The increase of the degree of Fe3+ ion substitution by Sc3+ ions up to x = 0.2 in the basic composition (Ni0.5Co0.5Fe2O4) results in the increase of the response and the decrease of the optimal operating temperature for all the studied gases. The sensor element Ni0.5Co0.5Sc0.2Fe1.8O4 (x = 0.2) has the best response to benzene (2.57) and to methylene chloride (2.10) at the operating temperature of 175 °C for a gas concentration of 500 ppm and a relative humidity of 50%.


  • The Ni0.5Co0.5ScxFe2–xO4 (0 < x < 0.2) ferrites have been prepared by self-combustion method.

  • The porosity is amplified by a system with open pores distributed along the grain agglomerations.

  • The increase of substitution by Sc results in the increase of sensor response to the studied gases.

  • The substitution with Sc ions has the effect of decreasing the optimal operating temperature.

  • The Ni0.5Co0.5Sc0.2Fe1.8O4 sensors have the best response to benzene and methylene chloride gas.


Ni–Co–Sc ferrite Self-combustion Structural properties Electrical properties Gas-sensing properties 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Integrated Center for Studies in Environmental Science for North-East RegionAlexandru Ioan Cuza University of IasiIasiRomania
  2. 2.Faculty of PhysicsAlexandru Ioan Cuza University of IasiIasiRomania

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