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Role of vanadium ions, oxygen vacancies, and interstitial zinc in room temperature ferromagnetism on ZnO-V2O5 nanoparticles

Sion F Olive-Méndez1*, Carlos R Santillán-Rodríguez1, Ricardo A González-Valenzuela2, Francisco Espinosa-Magaña1 and José A Matutes-Aquino1

Author Affiliations

1 Centro de Investigación en Materiales Avanzados, S. C., CIMAV, Av. Miguel de Cervantes 120, Complejo Industrial Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Chihuahua 31109, Mexico

2 Honeywell Manufacturas de Chihuahua, S de RL de CV, Chihuahua Chihuahua, 31136, Mexico

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:169  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-169

Published: 7 April 2014


In this work, we present the role of vanadium ions (V+5 and V+3), oxygen vacancies (VO), and interstitial zinc (Zni) to the contribution of specific magnetization for a mixture of ZnO-V2O5 nanoparticles (NPs). Samples were obtained by mechanical milling of dry powders and ethanol-assisted milling for 1 h with a fixed atomic ratio V/Zn?=?5% at. For comparison, pure ZnO samples were also prepared. All samples exhibit a room temperature magnetization ranging from 1.18?×?10−3 to 3.5?×?10−3 emu/gr. Pure ZnO powders (1.34?×?10−3 emu/gr) milled with ethanol exhibit slight increase in magnetization attributed to formation of Zni, while dry milled ZnO powders exhibit a decrease of magnetization due to a reduction of VO concentration. For the ZnO-V2O5 system, dry milled and thermally treated samples under reducing atmosphere exhibit a large paramagnetic component associated to the formation of V2O3 and secondary phases containing V+3 ions; at the same time, an increase of VO is observed with an abrupt fall of magnetization to σ?~?0.7?×?10−3 emu/gr due to segregation of V oxides and formation of secondary phases. As mechanical milling is an aggressive synthesis method, high disorder is induced at the surface of the ZnO NPs, including VO and Zni depending on the chemical environment. Thermal treatment restores partially structural order at the surface of the NPs, thus reducing the amount of Zni at the same time that V2O5 NPs segregate reducing the direct contact with the surface of ZnO NPs. Additional samples were milled for longer time up to 24 h to study the effect of milling on the magnetization; 1-h milled samples have the highest magnetizations. Structural characterization was carried out using X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. Identification of VO and Zni was carried out with Raman spectra, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy was used to verify that V did not diffuse into ZnO NPs as well to quantify O/Zn ratios.

Vanadium ions; Oxygen vacancies; Interstitial zinc; Room temperature ferromagnetism; V-doped ZnO