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Facile fabrication of Fe-doped Si–C–N ceramic microspheres with flower-like morphology and the infrared extinction property

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Nonoxide ceramics microspheres with multiple compositions are attractive for wide applications especially in thermal insulation science. The flower-like Fe-doped Si–C–N ceramic microspheres with the average size of about 1 μm were fabricated from polyvinylsilazane and ferrocene precursor through polymer-derived ceramics technology combined with emulsion polymerization method. The properties of the resultant microspheres were characterized by FTIR, SEM-EDX, VSM, TGA, and XRD. The morphology and size of the microspheres could be tuned by changing of ferrocene content, cross-linking time, and pyrolysis temperature. The ceramic microspheres were estimated to be composed of SiC/Si3N4 and α-Fe/Fe2O3 crystal phase, and the folding sheets on the surface induced the flower-like morphology due to phase separation and crystal rearrangement. The effective extinction coefficient of silica aerogels opacified with 10 wt% of Fe-doped Si–C–N microspheres increased with rising pyrolysis temperature, the maximum value of e* reached 27.5 cm2/g at 1300 °C. Moreover, the microspheres showed weak room temperatures ferromagnetism, which was facilitated to alignment in fabrication and recycle, make them an ideal candidate for aerogels in infrared shielding application.

Flower-like Fe-doped Si–C–N ceramic particles were prepared through a controllable emulsion polymerization method with PVSZ and ferrocene precursor. With emulsion droplet as soft templates, flower-like Fe-doped Si–C–N ceramic particles self-assembled with two-dimensional nanosheets via PDC method possessed a higher specific surface area. The resulting Fe-doped Si–C–N ceramics particles will allow for a wide scope of potential application in many fields, such as infrared opacifiers, reinforcing phases, and gas sensor.


  • Novel Fe-doped Si-C-N ceramic microspheres with flower-like morphology were prepared by polymer-derived ceramics technology combined with the emulsion polymerization method.

  • The morphology and size of microspheres could be tuned by changing conditions.

  • Microspheres were composed of multiple crystals.

  • Microspheres showed weak room temperature ferromagnetism.

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We thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51703156) and the Tianjin Research Program of Application Foundation and Advanced Technology (No. 17JCQNJC03300) for financial support.

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Correspondence to Hongli Liu.

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Li, J., Liu, H., Zhang, Y. et al. Facile fabrication of Fe-doped Si–C–N ceramic microspheres with flower-like morphology and the infrared extinction property. J Sol-Gel Sci Technol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10971-020-05250-x

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  • Polymer-derived ceramics
  • Fe-doped
  • Flower-like
  • Infrared extinction