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Sol–Gel Synthesis and Micro-Raman Characterization of ε‑Fe2O3 Micro- and Nanoparticles

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posted on 03.03.2016, 15:55 authored by J. López-Sánchez, A. Serrano, A. Del Campo, M. Abuín, O. Rodríguez de la Fuente, N. Carmona
In this work, we present a sol–gel synthesis of ε-Fe2O3 nano and microparticles stabilized in silica thin films. Thanks to the relatively high size of the synthesized particles, we have been able to discriminate the Raman signal of the ε- and α-Fe2O3 phases, thus presenting the first Confocal Raman Microscopy study of isolated ε-Fe2O3 particles. The vibrational modes of each phase are identified at room temperature. The phase transition from ε- to α-Fe2O3 and the morphological modifications are analyzed as a function of the in situ output laser power. A complete study of the Raman spectra for ε-Fe2O3 particles has been performed for a wide range of temperatures (80–570 K). The phonon frequencies and line widths show a behavior in which the contributions from lattice thermal expansion and anharmonic interactions have to be considered. We have also identified a two-magnon mode in the ε-Fe2O3 phase. Its intensity increases close to the Néel transition (TN) and persists well above it. This observation could be one of the few experimental examples of a paramagnon, i.e., a magnetic excitation in a paramagnetic state.