Synthesis and Characterization of ZnO and Fe3O4 Nanocrystals from Oleat-based Organometallic Compounds

Magnetic and semiconductor nanomaterials exhibit novel magnetic and optical properties owing to their unique size and shape-dependent effects. With shrinking the size down to nanoscale region, various anomalous properties that normally not present in bulk start to dominate. Ability in harnessing of these anomalous properties for the design of various advance electronic devices is strictly dependent on synthetic strategies. Hence, current research has focused on developing a rational synthetic control to produce high quality nanocrystals by using organometallic approach to tune both size and shape of the nanomaterials. In order to elucidate the growth mechanism, transmission electron microscopy was employed as a powerful tool in performing real time-resolved morphologies and structural characterization of magnetic (Fe3O4) and semiconductor (ZnO) nanocrystals. The current synthetic approach is found able to produce nanostructures with well-defined shapes. We have found that oleic acid is an effective capping ligand in preparing oxide-based nanostructures without any agglomerations, even at high temperature. The oleate-based precursors and capping ligands are fatty acid compounds, which are respectively originated from natural palm oil with low toxicity. In comparison with other synthetic approaches in producing nanostructures, current synthetic method offers an effective route to produce oxide-based nanomaterials with well-defined shapes and good monodispersity. The nanocystals are well-separated with each other without any stacking effect. In addition, the as-synthesized nanopellets are stable in terms of chemically and physically if compared to those nanomaterials that are previous reported. Further development and extension of current synthetic strategy are being pursued to combine both of these materials into nanocomposite form that will be used as “smart magnetic nanophotocatalyst" for industry waste water treatment.

Synthesis and Electrochemical Characterization of Iron Oxide / Activated Carbon Composite Electrode for Symmetrical Supercapacitor

In the present work, we have developed a symmetric electrochemical capacitor based on the nanostructured iron oxide (Fe3O4)-activated carbon (AC) nanocomposite materials. The physical properties of the nanocomposites were characterized by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) analysis. The electrochemical performances of the composite electrode in 1.0 M Na2SO3 and 1.0 M Na2SO4 aqueous solutions were evaluated using cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS). The composite electrode with 4 wt% of iron oxide nanomaterials exhibits the highest capacitance of 86 F/g. The experimental results clearly indicate that the incorporation of iron oxide nanomaterials at low concentration to the composite can improve the capacitive performance, mainly attributed to the contribution of the pseudocapacitance charge storage mechanism and the enhancement on the effective surface area of the electrode. Nevertheless, there is an optimum threshold on the amount of iron oxide that needs to be incorporated into the composite system. When this optimum threshold is exceeded, the capacitive performance of the electrode starts to deteriorate, as a result of the undesired particle aggregation, which is clearly indicated in the SEM analysis. The electrochemical performance of the composite electrode is found to be superior when Na2SO3 is used as the electrolyte, if compared to the Na2SO4 solution. It is believed that Fe3O4 nanoparticles can provide favourable surface adsorption sites for sulphite (SO3 2-) anions which act as catalysts for subsequent redox and intercalation reactions.