Effects of Thermal Treatment on the Structure of Eu:YAG Nanopowder
Eu:YAG nanopowder precursors were obtained by co-precipitation of aluminium, yttrium and europium nitrates solution with ammonia. The hydroxides precursors were calcined at different temperatures from 900 to 1200°C as a function of holding time (1, 2 and 6 hours). The presence of Eu3+ ions in the matrix was confirmed by Energy Dispersive X-rays analysis. X-Ray Diffraction investigation by the Rietveld method shows that the sample treated at 900°C for 1 hour is essentially the garnet phase with the minor presence of hexagonal and monoclinic metastable phases. The Eu3+ ions are incorporated into the garnet phase, as is suggested by the lattice parameter value being larger than that in literature data (homogeneous strain). For the sample treated at 900°C for 1 hour, electron microscopy observations showed agglomerates of spherical particles of mean size about 50 nm. At higher temperature treatments and for longer holding times the minority hexagonal and monoclinic phases totally disappeared. However, the lattice parameters of the cubic garnet phase gradually decreased with temperature, suggesting an expulsion of Eu3+ ions from the solid solution. Simultaneous with this, it was noted that the lattice strain reached a maximum value, but to later decrease, due to the vacancies created by the Eu species initially migrating to the surface of the coherent domains of diffraction. The lattice strain definitely decreased upon more drastic thermal treatments. Meanwhile, FEG-SEM and TEM observations on the same samples confirmed the growth of the garnet particles as a function of the thermal treatment.
Witold Łojkowski and John R. Blizzard, Urszula Narkiewicz and Janusz D. Fidelus
M. L. Saladino et al., "Effects of Thermal Treatment on the Structure of Eu:YAG Nanopowder ", Solid State Phenomena, Vol. 128, pp. 107-114, 2007