Al2O3 nanoparticle polymorphs: effects of Zn2+ doping on the structural, optical and cytotoxic properties


Al2O3-Zn x% NPs, with x = 0, 1, 3, 5 or 10 mol% Zn2+ were synthesized by a modified sol–gel method. The influence of the insertion of Zn2+ dopant on the crystal lattice, morphology, optical and cytotoxic properties of Al2O3 was investigated. Rietveld refinement applied to DRX data revealed that the oxides are constituted by four crystalline phases: α-Al2O3, θ-Al2O3, δ-Al2O3 and α-Al2O3(*), and that the doping promoted changes in unit cell volume for all the crystalline phases. Raman signals indicated that the insertion of Zn2+ caused changes in the vibrations of bonds Al–O, mainly in tetrahedral sites of transition phases of Al2O3, which are preferentially occupied by Zn ions. The oxides exhibited photoluminescence emission in the visible and near-infrared region, but Al2O3-Zn 10% showed increased emission intensity in the visible region. The nanoparticles with spherical and elongated morphologies did not exhibit cytotoxic effects on L929 fibroblast cells.

Graphic abstract

Zn-doped Al2O3 nanoparticles were synthesized by a modified sol-gel method. The influence of the insertion of Zn2+ dopant on the crystal lattice, morphology, optical and cytotoxic properties of Al2O3 was investigated.

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We are grateful to the Department of Physics/UEM, to COMCAP/UEM, for providing the equipment used in this study and to CAPES and CNPq (Process no. 405381/2016-6) for financial support.

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Correspondence to Jéssica de Lara Andrade.

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de Lara Andrade, J., de Oliveira, A.G., Rodrigues, L.S. et al. Al2O3 nanoparticle polymorphs: effects of Zn2+ doping on the structural, optical and cytotoxic properties. Bull Mater Sci 44, 23 (2021).

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  • Nanostructured materials
  • crystal structure
  • optical properties
  • biomedical applications