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Nanostructural Evolution: From One-Dimensional Tungsten Oxide Nanowires to Three-Dimensional Ferberite Flowers

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posted on 09.09.2008, 00:00 by Weibing Hu, Yimin Zhao, Zuli Liu, Charles W. Dunnill, Duncan H. Gregory, Yanqiu Zhu
Based on a W18O49 nanowire template, iron-substituted W18O49 nanowires and FeWO4 ferberite flowers have been generated by using mixed FeCl3 and WCl6 at different ratios in a simple solvo-thermal process employing cyclohexanol as the solvent. Detailed characterization by electron microscopy and spectroscopy has shown that increasing the FeCl3 concentration during solvo-thermal synthesis promotes a morphological evolution from the long one-dimensional nanowires of the precursor through short Fe-containing W18O49 nanowires and two-dimensional platelets to three-dimensional flowers with sixfold symmetry. The driving force for these transformations is attributed to Fe inclusion in the W18O49 template at low Fe concentrations, which introduces internal stresses to the W18O49 nanowires. At high Fe concentrations, close to the stoichiometric composition of FeWO4, the formation of the flower is triggered by the intrinsic sixfold symmetry of crystalline ferberite, via a combination of initial nanoblade nucleation and the competing self-assembly of neighboring parallel nanoblades. A similar solvo-thermal process has also been successful in the synthesis of MnNb2O6 bronze flowers, which exhibit structures with a morphology resembling a purposely carved microgear. Photoluminescent and magnetic properties of the products are also investigated.

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