Direct and continuous synthesis of VO2 nanoparticles.

PMID 26497868


Monoclinic VO2 nanoparticles are of interest due to the material's thermochromic properties, however, direct synthesis routes to VO2 nanoparticles are often inaccessible due to the high synthesis temperatures or long reaction times required. Herein, we present a two-step synthesis route for the preparation of monoclinic VO2 nanoparticles using Continuous Hydrothermal Flow Synthesis (CHFS) followed by a short post heat treatment step. A range of particle sizes, dependent on synthesis conditions, were produced from 50 to 200 nm by varying reaction temperatures and the residence times in the process. The nanoparticles were characterised by powder X-ray diffraction, Raman and UV/Vis spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The nanoparticles were highly crystalline with rod and sphere-like morphologies present in TEM micrographs, with the size of both the rod and spherical particles being highly dependent on both reaction temperature and residence time. SEM micrographs showed the surface of the powders produced from the CHFS process to be highly uniform. The samples were given a short post synthesis heat treatment to ensure that they were phase pure monoclinic VO2, which led to them exhibiting a large and reversible switch in optical properties (at near-IR wavelengths), which suggests that if such materials can be incorporated into coatings or in composites, they could be used for fenestration in architectural applications.