Influence of Lanthanum Doping on the Structural and Optical Properties of Hematite Nanopowders

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Abstract:
Rare-earth elements are an attractive class of dopant elements, as they give easily trivalent cations that possibly altering the structure and other properties of the parent nanoparticles and creating multifunctional materials because of their f-electronic configurations. Herein, experimental evidence has been given for a better understanding of the factors that dictate the interactions of La doping on the structure and optical properties of iron oxide nanoparticles. For that, lanthanum doped hematite (α-Fe2O3) nanoparticles were prepared by a facile solution method using iron (III) chloride (FeCl3) as starting precursor and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as reducing agent without templates at low temperature. As-prepared powders were subsequently calcined in air for 3 hr at 800 ºC. X-ray diffraction (XRD) technique was used to study the nanocrystal formation of α-Fe2O3 and Fourier Transform Raman (FT-Raman) spectral information identified the chemical bond structure of the nanoparticles. Morphology study of the nanoparticles was identified using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and the incorporated La content was recognized from the Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) analysis. The optical absorption spectrum was recorded in the wavelength range of 200-2000 nm and the optical parameters such as absorption coefficient and optical band gap energy of pure and doped Fe2O3 nanoparticles were determined. Obtained results are interpreted by considering the impregnation of trivalent La cations that replaced Fe cations of the host structure.

Keywords:Sol-gel precipitation, nanopowder, XRD, FT-Raman, SEM, Optical

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