Ultrafine α-Fe2O3 nanoparticles grown in confinement of in situ self-formed “cage” and their superior adsorption performance on arsenic(III)
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Without the addition of surfactants or templates, ultrafine α-Fe2O3 nanoparticles were successfully synthesized by a solvent thermal process at low temperature. During the synthesis, in situ self-formed “cage” of crystallized NaCl confined the growth of α-Fe2O3 nanoparticles in both the precipitation and solvent thermal processes, resulting in the creation of well-crystallized α-Fe2O3 nanoparticles with an average particle size about 4–5 nm and a high-specific surface area of ~162 m2/g. High resolution TEM investigations provided clear evidences of the in situ self-formation of NaCl “cage” during the synthesis and its confinement effect on the growth of α-Fe2O3 nanoparticles. The superior performance of these α-Fe2O3 nanoparticles on the adsorption of arsenite(III) (As) from aqueous environment was demonstrated with both lab-prepared and natural water samples at near neutral pH environment when compared with previously reported removal effects of As(III) by Fe2O3. This unique approach may also be utilized in the synthesis of other ultrafine metal oxide nanoparticles for a broad range of technical applications.
Keywordsα-Fe2O3 Nanoparticles Solvent thermal process In situ self-formed “Cage” Arsenic(III) adsorption Hematite
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