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Investigation of surface structure, electrokinetic and stability properties of highly dispersed Ho2O3–Yb2O3/SiO2 nanocomposites

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A series of highly dispersed Ho2O3–Yb2O3/SiO2 nanocomposites was synthesized using a liquid-phase method and examined using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), nitrogen adsorption–desorption, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and photon correlation spectroscopy (PCS). X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) confirmed a similar amount of weight percentage of Ho, Yb and Si oxides in the prepared samples. Samples HoYbSi1 (Ho2O3:Yb2O3:SiO2 = 0.5:10:89.5, wt. %), HoYbSi2 (Ho2O3:Yb2O3:SiO2 = 1:10:89, wt. %) and HoYbSi3 (Ho2O3:Yb2O3:SiO2 = 2:10:88, wt. %) calcined at 550 °C are amorphous. TEM and SEM analysis confirm a sphere-like morphology with a quite homogeneous size and shape. As compared with the initial silica, the agglomerated particles of nanocomposites in the aqueous medium are in the range from 200 to 850 nm according to PCS data. The effect of anionic polyacrylic acid (PAA) adsorption on fumed silica (SiO2) and Ho2O3–Yb2O3/SiO2 nanocomposite surfaces on suspension stability was studied. The turbidymetry method was used to monitor the initial silica and triple nanooxides suspensions stability as a function of time.

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The authors acknowledge financial support by the International Visegrad Fund supporting the study stay of Dr. I. Sulym (Contract number 51910525) at the UMCS in 2019-2020.

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IS designed the whole work, carried out the synthesis and characterization of nanocomposites by FTIR method and measurements of PSD for samples. IS calculated the textural parameters for initial silica and nanocomposites using a self-consistent regularization procedure. MW and KT performed the electrokinetic and stability measurements of samples. MB carried out XRD studies of nanocomposites. LS performed TEM studies and size analysis of nanocomposites using SEM/TEM images. DS and ADM participated in the measurement of SEM, XRF and low-temperature nitrogen adsorption–desorption technique for nanocomposites. IS and MW analyzed all data and wrote the original draft of the manuscript. MB and ADM performed the final reviewing and editing of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Iryna Sulym.

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Sulym, I., Wiśniewska, M., Storozhuk, L. et al. Investigation of surface structure, electrokinetic and stability properties of highly dispersed Ho2O3–Yb2O3/SiO2 nanocomposites. Appl Nanosci 12, 553–564 (2022).

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