Tuning the magnetic properties of Sn1-x-yCe4+xCe3+yO2 nanoparticles: an experimental and theoretical approach

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2021-03-07

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Royal Soc Chemistry

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During the last decade, there was a substantial increase in the research on metal-doped oxide semiconductor nanoparticles due to advances in the engineering of nanomaterials and their potential application in spintronics, biomedicine and photocatalysis fields. In this regard, doping a nanomaterial is a powerful tool to tune its physicochemical properties. The aim of this work is to shine a new light on the role of the neighbouring elements on the oxidation state of the Ce-impurity, from both experimental and theoretical points of view. Herein, we present an accurate study of the mechanisms involved in the oxidation states of the Ce-ions during the doping process of SnO2 nanoparticles (NPs) prepared by the polymeric precursor method. X-ray diffraction measurements have displayed the tetragonal rutile-type SnO2 phase in all samples. However, the Bragg's peak (111) and (220) located at 2 theta similar to 29 degrees and similar to 47 degrees evidence the formation of a secondary CeO2 phase for samples with Ce content up to 10%. X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) measurements, at Ce L3 edge, were performed on the NPs as a function of Ce content. The results show, on one side, the coexistence of Ce3+ and Ce4+ states in all samples; and on the other side, a clear reduction in the Ce3+ population driven by the increase of Ce content. It is shown that this is induced by the neighboring cation, and confirmed by magnetic measurements. The monotonic damping of the Ce3+/Ce4+ ratio experimentally, was connected with theoretical calculations via density functional theory by simulating a variety of point defects composed of Ce impurities and surrounding oxygen vacancies. We found that the number of oxygen vacancies around the Ce-ions is the main ingredient to change the Ce oxidation state, and hence the magnetic properties of Ce-doped SnO2 NPs. The presented results pave the way for handling the magnetic properties of oxides through the control of the oxidation state of impurities.

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Nanoscale Advances. Cambridge: Royal Soc Chemistry, v. 3, n. 5, p. 1484-1495, 2021.

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