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Synthesis and Characterization of ZnO and Fe3O4 Nanocrystals from Oleat-based Organometallic Compounds

Authors: PoiSim Khiew, WeeSiong Chiu, ThianKhoonTan, Shahidan Radiman, Roslan Abd-Shukor, Muhammad Azmi Abd-Hamid, ChinHua Chia


Magnetic and semiconductor nanomaterials exhibit novel magnetic and optical properties owing to their unique size and shape-dependent effects. With shrinking the size down to nanoscale region, various anomalous properties that normally not present in bulk start to dominate. Ability in harnessing of these anomalous properties for the design of various advance electronic devices is strictly dependent on synthetic strategies. Hence, current research has focused on developing a rational synthetic control to produce high quality nanocrystals by using organometallic approach to tune both size and shape of the nanomaterials. In order to elucidate the growth mechanism, transmission electron microscopy was employed as a powerful tool in performing real time-resolved morphologies and structural characterization of magnetic (Fe3O4) and semiconductor (ZnO) nanocrystals. The current synthetic approach is found able to produce nanostructures with well-defined shapes. We have found that oleic acid is an effective capping ligand in preparing oxide-based nanostructures without any agglomerations, even at high temperature. The oleate-based precursors and capping ligands are fatty acid compounds, which are respectively originated from natural palm oil with low toxicity. In comparison with other synthetic approaches in producing nanostructures, current synthetic method offers an effective route to produce oxide-based nanomaterials with well-defined shapes and good monodispersity. The nanocystals are well-separated with each other without any stacking effect. In addition, the as-synthesized nanopellets are stable in terms of chemically and physically if compared to those nanomaterials that are previous reported. Further development and extension of current synthetic strategy are being pursued to combine both of these materials into nanocomposite form that will be used as “smart magnetic nanophotocatalyst" for industry waste water treatment.

Keywords: Metal oxide nanomaterials, Nanophotocatalyst, Organometallic synthesis, Morphology Control

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