An unexpected phase transformation of ceria nanoparticles in aqueous media


Cerium oxide nanoparticles (CNPs) are of significant interest to the scientific community due to their widespread applications in a variety of fields. It is proposed that size-dependent variations in the extent of Ce3+ and Ce4+ oxidation states of cerium in CNPs determine the performance of CNPs in application environments. To obtain greater molecular and structural understanding of chemical state transformations previously reported for ceria of ≈3 nm nanoparticles (CNPs) in response to changing ambient conditions, micro-XRD and Raman measurements were carried out for various solution conditions. The particles were observed to undergo a reversible transformation from a defective ceria structure to a non-ceria amorphous oxyhydroxide/peroxide phase in response to the addition of 30% hydrogen peroxide. For CNPs made up of ∼8 nm crystallites, a partial transformation was observed, and no transformation was observed for CNPs made up of ∼40 nm crystallites. This observation of differences in size-dependent transition behavior may help explain the benefits of using smaller CNPs in applications requiring regenerative property.

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A portion of the research reported here was performed in Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) a DOE user facility supported by the Office of Biological and Environmental Research and located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Authors acknowledge the help from scientists in EMSL, specifically Dr. Nachimuthu Ponnusamy for his help with carrying out micro-XRD experiments and other researchers in Sudipta Seal (SS) group for their contributions to understanding CNP systems. CNP research by SS group was supported by NSF NIRT, NSF CMII and IREE, and NSF EEC (US Australia). Parts of the work are funded by NIH/NIEHS-U19 U19 ES019544 program.

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Correspondence to Satyanarayana V. N. T. Kuchibhatla.

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Kuchibhatla, S.V.N.T., Karakoti, A.S., Vasdekis, A.E. et al. An unexpected phase transformation of ceria nanoparticles in aqueous media. Journal of Materials Research 34, 465–473 (2019).

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