cerium oxide nanoparticles, room temperature synthesis


Cerium oxide (ceria, CeOâ‚‚) is a rare earth oxide that has attracted wide-spread research interest because of its unique properties such as high mechanical strength, oxygen ion conductivity, oxygen storage capacity and autocatalytic property. In recent years, researchers have discovered that ceria nanoparticles (NPs) are capable of protecting cells from free radical induced damage. Interestingly, it was found that nanometer size (~ 5 nm) ceria can scavenge free radicals quite efficiently, thus acting as an anti-oxidant. This phenomenon has been explained based on the autocatalytic property of ceria NPs. Several methods have been developed for the synthesis of ceria NPs that include flame combustion, hydroxide co-precipitation, hydrothermal/solvothermal, microemulsion, sonochemical and microwave-assisted heating methods and sol-gel method. Ceria NPs synthesized by these methods are often highly aggregated. Furthermore, large scale synthesis of monodispersed CeOâ‚‚ NPs is quite challenging. Therefore it is desirable to synthesize ceria NPs in bulk quantity keeping its important properties intact, specifically free-radical scavenging property. The main goal of this study is therefore to synthesize ultra-small ([less than]5.0 nm), high quality monodispersed ceria NPs in large quantities. In this thesis work, I present a couple of room temperature techniques, dilute sodium hydroxide (NaOH) assisted and ethylenediamine (EN) assisted for the synthesis of nearly mono-dispersed, ultra-small ( < 5 nm) and water-dispersible ceria NPs. Morphology and particle size of the ceria NPs were investigated through high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). The HRTEM analysis confirmed the formation of 3.0 ± 0.5 nm size and 2.5 ± 0.2 nm size highlycrystalline ceria NPs when synthesized using dilute NaOH and EN as solvents, respectively. The nanostructures were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) studies to determine the crystal structure and phase purity of the products. The samples were also thoroughly characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to determine the oxidation state of cerium ions. The presence of the +3 and +4 oxidation states in the samples was also confirmed from the XPS analysis. The co-existence of these two oxidation states is necessary for their applications as free radical scavenger. The autocatalytic behaviors of the ceria NPs were investigated through a hydrogen peroxide test and monitored by UV-visible transmission spectroscopy.


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Graduation Date



Santra, Swadeshmukul


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program

Industrial Chemistry








Release Date

November 2009

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Included in

Chemistry Commons