The Role of Growth Directors in Controlling the Morphology of Hematite Nanorods

Allender, CJ., Bowen, JL., Celorrio, V., Davies-Jones, JA., Davies, PR., Guan, S., O'Reilly, P., Sankar, M.
Nanoscale Res Lett

Abstract

The control of the growth of hematite nanoparticles from iron chloride solutions under hydrothermal conditions in the presence of two different structure promoters has been studied using a range of both structural and spectroscopic techniques including the first report of photo induced force microscopy (PiFM) to map the topographic distribution of the structure-directing agents on the developing nanoparticles. We show that the shape of the nanoparticles can be controlled using the concentration of phosphate ions up to a limit determined to be ~6 × 10-3 mol. Akaganéite (β-FeOOH) is a major component of the nanoparticles formed in the absence of structure directors but only present in the very early stages (< 8 h) of particle growth when phosphate is present. The PiFM data suggest a correlation between the areas in which phosphate ions are adsorbed and areas where akaganéite persists on the surface. In contrast, goethite (α-FeOOH) is a directly observed precursor of the hematite nanorods when 1,2-diamino propane is present. The PiFM data shows goethite in the center of the developing particles consistent with a mechanism in which the iron hydroxide re-dissolves and precipitates at the nanorod ends as hematite.

DOI: 10.1186/s11671-020-03387-w