Peering into the Formation of Cerium Oxide Colloidal Particles in Solution by In Situ Small-Angle X-ray Scattering

Elifkubra Oezkan, Felix Badaczewski, Pascal Cop, Sebastian Werner, Alexander Hofmann, Martin Votsmeier, Heinz Amenitsch, Bernd M. Smarsly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The formation of CeO2 colloidal particles upon heating an aqueous solution of (NH4)2Ce(NO3)6 to 100 °C was investigated by time-resolved in situ SAXS analysis using synchrotron radiation, providing absolute intensity data. In particular, the experiments were performed by applying different temperatures between room temperature and 100 °C as well as under variation of the ionic strength and concentration. Using validated SAXS evaluation tools (SASfit and McSAS software), the analyses revealed the presence of two types of particle populations possessing average dimensions of ca. 2 nm and 5-15 nm, with the latter being agglomerates of the 2 nm particles rather than single crystallites. The analysis revealed not only the changes in the size, but also the relative volume fractions of these two CeO2 particle populations as a function of the aforementioned parameters. Increasing the temperature increases the number of the 5-15 nm agglomerates on one hand by the enhanced nucleation rate of the primary particles. On the other hand, especially at high temperatures (90 and 100 °C) the larger agglomerate particles precipitate, resulting in interesting trends in the fractions of the two populations as a function of time, temperature, ionic strength, and precursor concentration. The experimental studies are complemented by calculating colloidal interaction energies based on classical DLVO theory. Thereby, this study provides detailed insight into the nucleation, growth, and agglomeration of CeO2 nanoparticles. The primary objective of this study is to provide a better understanding of the nucleation and growth of particles by the hydrolysis of the tetravalent cerium ion in aqueous solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9175-9190
Number of pages16
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Spectroscopy
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Electrochemistry

Fields of Expertise

  • Advanced Materials Science

Cite this