Synthesis and characterisation of metal (Fe, Ga, Y) doped alumina and gallium oxide nanostructures

Zhao, Yanyan (2008) Synthesis and characterisation of metal (Fe, Ga, Y) doped alumina and gallium oxide nanostructures. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.

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It is well known that nanostructures possess unique electronic, optical, magnetic, ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties that are often superior to traditional bulk materials. In particular, one dimensional (1D) nanostructured inorganic materials including nanofibres, nanotubes and nanobelts have attracted considerable attention due to their distinctive geometries, novel physical and chemical properties, combined effects and their applications to numerous areas. Metal ion doping is a promising technique which can be utilized to control the properties of materials by intentionally introducing impurities or defects into a material.

γ-Alumina (Al2O3), is one of the most important oxides due to its high surface area, mesoporous properties, chemical and thermal properties and its broad applications in adsorbents, composite materials, ceramics, catalysts and catalyst supports. γ-Alumina has been studied intensively over a long period of time. Recently, considerable work has been carried out on the synthesis of 1D γ-alumina nanostructures under various hydrothermal conditions; however, research on the doping of alumina nanostructures has not been forthcoming. Boehmite (γ-AlOOH) is a crucial precursor for the preparation of γ-Alumina and the morphology and size of the resultant alumina can be manipulated by controlling the growth of AlOOH.

Gallium (Ga) is in the same group in the periodic table as aluminum. β-Gallium (III) oxide (β-Ga2O3), a wide band gap semiconductor, has long been known to exhibit conduction, luminescence and catalytic properties. Numerous techniques have been employed on the synthesis of gallium oxide in the early research. However, these techniques are plagued by inevitable problems. It is of great interest to explore the synthesis of gallium oxide via a low temperature hydrothermal route, which is economically efficient and environmentally friendly.

The overall objectives of this study were: 1) the investigation of the effect of dopants on the morphology, size and properties of metal ion doped 1D alumina nanostructures by introducing dopant to the AlOOH structure; 2) the investigation of impacts of hydrothermal conditions and surfactants on the crystal growth of gallium oxide nanostructures. To achieve the above objectives, trivalent metal elements such as iron, gallium and yttrium were employed as dopants in the study of doped alumina nanostructures. In addition, the effect of various parameters that may affect the growth of gallium oxide crystals including temperature, pH, and the experimental procedure as well as different types of surfactants were systematically investigated.

The main contributions of this study are: 1) the systematic and in-depth investigation of the crystal growth and the morphology control of iron, gallium and yttrium doped boehmite (AlOOH) under varying hydrothermal conditions, as a result, a new soft-chemistry synthesis route for the preparation of one dimensional alumina/boehmite nanofibres and nanotubes was invented; 2) systematic investigation of the crystal growth and morphology and size changes of gallium oxide hydroxide (GaOOH) under varying hydrothermal conditions with and without surfactant at low temperature; We invented a green hydrothermal route for the preparation of α-GaOOH or β-GaOOH micro- to nano-scaled particles; invented a simple hydrothermal route for the direct preparation of γ-Ga2O3 from aqueous media at low temperature without any calcination.

The study provided detailed synthesis routes as well as quantitative property data of final products which are necessary for their potential industrial applications in the future. The following are the main areas and findings presented in the study:

• Fe doped boehmite nanostructures

This work was undertaken at 120ºC using PEO surfactant through a hydrothermal synthesis route by adding fresh iron doped aluminium hydrate at regular intervals of 2 days. The effect of dopant iron, iron percentage and experimental procedure on the morphology and size of boehmite were systematically studied. Iron doped boehmite nanofibres were formed in all samples with iron contents no more than 10%. Nanosheets and nanotubes together with an iron rich phase were formed in 20% iron doped boehmite sample. A change in synthesis procedure resulted in the formation of hematite large crystals. The resultant nanomaterials were characterized by a combination of XRD, TEM, EDX, SAED and N2 adsorption analysis.

• Growth of pure boehmite nanofibres/nanotubes

The growth of pure boehmite nanofibres/nanotubes under different hydrothermal conditions at 100ºC with and without PEO surfactant was systematically studied to provide further information for the following studies of the growth of Ga and Y doped boehmite. Results showed that adding fresh aluminium hydrate precipitate in a regular interval resulted in the formation of a mixture of long and short 1D boehmite nanostructures rather than the formation of relatively longer nanofibres/nanotubes. The detailed discussion and mechanism on the growth of boehmite nanostructure were presented. The resultant boehmite samples were also characterized by N2 adsorption to provide further information on the surface properties to support the proposed mechanism.

• Ga doped boehmite nanostructures

Based on this study on the growth of pure boehmite nanofibre/nanotubes, gallium doped boehmite nanotubes were prepared via hydrothermal treatment at 100ºC in the presence of PEO surfactant without adding any fresh aluminium hydrate precipitate during the hydrothermal treatment. The effect of dopant gallium, gallium percentage, temperature and experimental procedure on the morphology and size of boehmite was systematically studied. Various morphologies of boehmite nanostructures were formed with the increase in the doping gallium content and the change in synthesis procedure. The resultant gallium doped boehmite nanostructures were characterized by TEM, XRD, EDX, SAED, N2 adsorption and TGA.

• Y doped boehmite nanostructures

Following the same synthesis route as that for gallium doped boehmite, yttrium doped boehmite nanostructures were prepared at 100ºC in the presence of PEO surfactant. From the study on iron and gallium doped boehmite nanostructures, it was noted both iron and gallium cannot grow with boehmite nanostructure if iron nitrate and gallium nitrate were not mixed with aluminium nitrate before dissolving in water, in particular, gallium and aluminium are 100% miscible. Therefore, it’s not necessary to study the mixing procedure or synthesis route on the formation of yttrium doped boehmite nanostructures in this work. The effect of dopant yttrium, yttrium percentage, temperature and surfactant on the morphology and size of boehmite were systematically studied. Nanofibres were formed in all samples with varying doped Y% treated at 100ºC; large Y(OH)3 crystals were also formed at high doping Y percentage. Treatment at elevated temperatures resulted in remarkable changes in size and morphology for samples with the same doping Y content. The resultant yttrium doped boehmite nanostructures were characterized by TEM, XRD, EDX, SAED, N2 adsorption and TGA.

• The synthesis of Gallium oxide hydroxide and gallium oxide with surfactant

In this study, the growth of gallium oxide hydroxide under various hydrothermal conditions in the presence of different types of surfactants was systematically studied. Nano- to micro-sized gallium oxide hydroxide was prepared. The effect of surfactant and synthesis procedure on the morphology of the resultant gallium oxide hydroxide was studied. β-gallium oxide nanorods were derived from gallium oxide hydroxide by calcination at 900ºC and the initial morphology was retained. γ-gallium oxide nanotubes up to 65 nm in length, with internal and external diameters of around 0.8 and 3.0 nm, were synthesized directly in solution with and without surfactant. The resultant nano- to micro-sized structures were characterized by XRD, TEM, SAED, EDX and N2 adsorption.

• The synthesis of gallium oxide hydroxide without surfactant

The aim of this study is to explore a green synthesis route for the preparation of gallium oxide hydroxide or gallium oxide via hydrothermal treatment at low temperature. Micro to nano sized GaOOH nanorods and particles were prepared under varying hydrothermal conditions without any surfactant. The resultant GaOOH nanomaterials were characterized by XRD, TEM, SAED, EDX, TG and FT-IR. The growth mechanism of GaOOH crystals was proposed.

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ID Code: 20529
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Refereed: No
Supervisor: Frost, Raymond & Martens, Wayde
Keywords: alumina, boehmite, iron, gallium, yttrium, gallium oxide, gallium oxide hydroxide, surfactant, nanofibres, nanotubes, nanosheets, nanorods, hydrothermal treatment, x-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, N2 adsorption/desorption, BET surface area, pore size distribution, thermal decomposition, thermogravimetric analysis, infrared spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Past > Schools > School of Physical & Chemical Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 19 May 2009 01:10
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2015 23:47

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