Miao, H., Li, J., Lin, Y. et al. Chin. Sci. Bull. (2011) 56: 2383. doi:10.1007/s11434-011-4559-z
γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles were successfully synthesized by a chemically induced transformation of α-FeOOH. In this method, the precursor (α-FeOOH) was prepared by chemical precipitation, and then treated with a mixed FeCl2/NaOH solution to produce the nanoparticles. X-ray diffraction indicated that when the precursor was treated with FeCl2 (0.22 mol/L) and NaOH (0.19 mol/L), pure γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles were obtained. However, when the concentration of FeCl2 was <0.22 mol/L or the concentration of NaOH was <0.19 mol/L, α-FeOOH and γ-Fe2O3 phases co-existed in the nanoparticles. Transmission electron microscopy observations showed that in the samples with co-existing phases, the nanoparticles did not have identical morphologies. The pure γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles were polygonal rather than spherical. The volume ratio of α-FeOOH and γ-Fe2O3 was estimated for the two-phase samples from magnetization data obtained from a vibrating sample magnetometer. This chemically induced transformation is novel, and could provide an effective route for the synthesis of other metal oxide nanocrystallites.
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