Nanoceria, doping, high temperature oxidation, microemulsion


Rare earth oxides with trivalent lattice dopants have been of great interest to researchers in the recent years due to its potential applications in catalysis and high temperature protective coatings. The ability to store oxygen in rare earths is the basis for catalysis because of the ability to change valence states which causes the presence of intrinsic oxygen vacancies in the crystal lattice. Although, several doped-rare earth oxide systems in micron scale have been investigated, the doping effect in cerium oxide nanoparticles with well characterized particle size has not been studied. The doping of ceria at that small size can be very beneficial to further improve its catalytic properties and alter the high temperature phases in alloy systems. Cost effective room temperature chemical methods are used in the current work to synthesize uniformly distributed undoped and doped (dopants: La, Nd, Sm, Gd, Y and Yb) rare earth oxide nanoparticles. In the present study, the variation of the properties in nanocrystalline ceria (NC) synthesized by microemulsion method is studied as a function of dopant size and its concentration. To further understand, the role of dopant (cation) size on the oxygen vacancy concentration, doped nanocrystalline oxide powders were analyzed by Raman Spectroscopy, X-ray Diffraction (XRD) and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). XRD studies showed that lattice parameter change in nanocrystalline oxide by doping trivalent rare earth elements is largely depending on size of trivalent ions. It showed that by doping larger cations (Gd3+ and Y3+) compare to Ce3+ causes lattice expansion where as smaller cations (Yb3+) leads to lattice contraction. It also showed that the lattice expansion or contraction is directly proportional to dopant concentration. The results of Raman Spectroscopy showed that the correlation length decreases resulting in increase in oxygen vacancies for larger trivalent dopants (Sm3+, Gd3+ and Y3+). However, the correlation length increases resulting in decrease in oxygen vacancies for smaller trivalent dopants (Yb3+) compare to nanocrystalline ceria. These nanostructured oxides are further applied to develop high temperature oxidation resistance coatings for austenitic steels. The present study investigates the role of oxygen vacancies in the performance of high temperature oxidation resistance as a function of various trivalent dopants and dopant concentration. NC and La3+ doped nanocrystalline ceria (LDN) particles were coated on AISI 304 stainless steels (SS) and exposed to 1243K in dry air for longer duration and subjected to cycling. The results are further compared with that of micro-ceria (MC) coatings. The coated samples showed 90% improvement in oxidation resistance compared to uncoated and MC coated steels as seen from the SEM cross-sectional studies. XRD analysis showed the presence of chromia in both NC and 20 LDN samples which is absent in uncoated steels. From SIMS depth profiles, Fe, Ni depletion zones are observed in presence of LDN coated sample indicating diffusion through the oxide layer. The role of oxygen vacancies in the nanoceria coatings on the early formation of protective chromia layer is discussed and compared to its micron counterpart. This study helps in understanding the role of oxygen vacancies to protect austenitic stainless steel at high temperature and confirms the oxygen inward diffusion rather cation outward diffusion in rare earth oxide coatings. It also gives an idea to identify the type of dopant and its concentration in nanocrystalline cerium oxide which supplies the critical oxygen partial pressure required at high temperature to form primarily impervious chromia layer.


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Graduation Date







Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering (M.S.M.S.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical, Materials and Aerospace Engineering;

Degree Program

Materials Science and Engineering








Release Date

September 2007

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)