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FTIR and Raman Spectroscopy of Carbon Nanoparticles in SiO2, ZnO and NiO Matrices

G Katumba1*, BW Mwakikunga234 and TR Mothibinyane1

Author Affiliations

1 CSIR—National Laser Centre, Building 46A, P.O. Box 395, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa

2 CSIR—National Centre for Nano-Structured Materials, Building 19B, P.O. Box 395, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa

3 School of Physics, University of the Witwatersrand, P O Wits 2050, Johannesburg, South Africa

4 Department of Physics, University of Malawi, The Polytechnic, P/B 303, Chichiri, Blantyre 3, Malawi

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2008, 3:421-426  doi:10.1007/s11671-008-9172-y

Published: 1 October 2008


Coatings of carbon nanoparticles dispersed in SiO2, ZnO and NiO matrices on aluminium substrates have been fabricated by a sol–gel technique. Spectrophotometry was used to determine the solar absorptance and the thermal emittance of the composite coatings with a view to apply these as selective solar absorber surfaces in solar thermal collectors. Cross-sectional high resolution transmission electron microscopy (X-HRTEM) was used to study the fine structure of the samples. Raman spectroscopy was used to estimate the grain size and crystallite size of the carbon clusters of the composite coatings. X-HRTEM studies revealed a nanometric grain size for all types of samples. The C–SiO2, C–ZnO and C–NiO coatings contained amorphous carbon nanoparticles embedded in nanocrystalline SiO2, ZnO and NiO matrices, respectively. Selected area electron diffraction (SAED) showed that a small amount of Ni grains of 30 nm diameter also existed in the NiO matrix. The thermal emittances of the samples were 10% for C–SiO2, 6% for the C–ZnO and 4% for the C–NiO samples. The solar absorptances were 95%, 71% and 84% for the C–SiO2, C–ZnO and C–NiO samples, respectively. Based on these results, C–NiO samples proved to have the best solar selectivity behaviour followed by the C–ZnO, and last were the C–SiO2samples. Raman spectroscopy studies revealed that both the C–ZnO and C–NiO samples have grain sizes for the carbon clusters in the range 55–62 nm and a crystallite size of 6 nm.

FTIR spectroscopy; Raman spectroscopy; Carbon nanoparticles; Oxide matrices