Controlled production of ZnO nanoparticles from zinc glycerolate in a sol-gel silica matrix
SourceJournal of colloid and interface science
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The controlled production of ZnO nanoparticles within an amorphous silica matrix is achieved using a new methodology consisting of four stages. First, precursor zinc glycerolate nanoparticles are produced within reversed micelles of glycerol in heptane stabilized by the surfactant Aerosol-OT (bis-ethylhexyl sodium sulfosuccinate, AOT). The surface of these nanoparticles is then modified by exchanging AOT with bis-trimethoxysilyl-ethane (BTME). The surface-modified nanoparticles are copolymerized with tetramethoxysilane (TMOS) to provide a composite silica material, in which the nanoparticles are apparently dissolved, producing a uniform distribution of zinc in the silica matrix. Finally, the conversion of zinc to ZnO is achieved by heating the material at 700 °C, leading to a uniform dispersion of very small (< 10 nm) ZnO particles within the amorphous matrix. The fluorescence spectrum of the ZnO particles within the matrix is blue-shifted, as expected from the strong quantum confinement achieved. The properties of the system at all stages in this synthetic process are monitored using TEM, XRD, fluorescence and FT-IR spectroscopy. Glycerol forms complexes with many metal ions, so the present procedure may be generalized to provide uniform distributions of metal ions and subsequently metal oxide nanoparticles in amorphous silica. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.