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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Phase Control in Hafnia: New Synthesis Approach and Convergence of Average and Local Structure Properties

Cojocaru, Bogdan; Avram, Daniel; Negrea, Raluca; Ghica, Corneliu; Kessler, Vadim G.; Seisenbaeva, Gulaim A.; Parvulescu, Vasile I.; Tiseanu, Carmen


Technologically relevant tetragonal/cubic phases of HfO2 can be stabilized at room temperature by doping with trivalent rare earths using various approaches denoted generically as bulk coprecipitation. Using in situ/ex situ X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, and in situ/ex situ site-selective, time-gated luminescence spectroscopy, we show that wet impregnation of hafnia nanoparticles with 10% Eu oxide followed by mild calcination in air at 500 degrees C produces an efficient stabilization of the cubic phase, comparable to that obtained by bulk precipitation. The physical reasons behind the apparently conflictual data concerning the actual crystallographic phase and the local symmetry around the Eu stabilizer and how these can be mediated by luminescence analysis are also discussed. Apparently, the cubic crystal structure symmetry determined by XRD results in a pseudocubic/tetragonal local structure around Eu determined by luminescence. Considering the recent findings on wet impregnated CeO2 and ZrO2, it is concluded that CeO2, ZrO2, and HfO2 represent a unique case of a family of oxides that is extremely tolerant to heavy doping by wet impregnation. In this way, the same batch of preformed nanoparticles can be doped with different lanthanide concentrations or with various lanthanides at a fixed concentration, allowing a systematic and reliable investigation of the effect of doping, lanthanide type, and lanthanide concentration on the various functionalities of these technologically relevant oxides.

Published in

ACS Omega
2019, Volume: 4, number: 5, pages: 8881-8891