Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Structure and Surface Relaxation of CeO2 Nanoparticles Unveiled by Combining Real and Reciprocal Space Total Scattering Analysis

We present a combined real and reciprocal space structural and microstructural characterization of CeO nanoparticles (NPs) exhibiting different crystallite sizes; ~3 nm CeO NPs were produced by an inverse micellae wet synthetic path and then annealed at different temperatures. X-ray total scattering data were analyzed by combining real-space-based Pair Distribution Function analysis and the reciprocal-space-based Debye Scattering Equation method with atomistic models. Subtle atomic-scale relaxations occur at the nanocrystal surface. The structural analysis was corroborated by ab initio DFT and force field calculations; micro-Raman and electron spin resonance added important insights to the NPs’ defective structure. The combination of the above techniques suggests a core-shell like structure of ultrasmall NPs. These exhibit an expanded outer shell having a defective fluorite structure, while the inner shell is similar to the bulk structure. The presence of partially reduced (Formula presented.) species testifies to the high surface activity of the NPs. On increasing the annealing temperature, the particle dimensions increase, limiting disorder as a consequence of the progressive surface-to-volume ratio reduction.

Nanomaterials (Basel)
Impact factor
Scavini M.; Bertolotti F.; Mlloja J.; Umbri F.; Bosc A.; Cappelli S.; Checchia S.; Oliva C.; Fumagalli P.; Ceresoli D.; Longhi M.; Guagliardi A.; Coduri M.
Authors IC CNR