Defect states and room temperature ferromagnetism in cerium oxide nanopowders prepared by decomposition of Ce-propionate

V. Mihalache*, J. C. Grivel, M. Secu

*Corresponding author for this work

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Four batches of cerium oxide powders (with nanocrystallite size of 6.9 nm–572 nm) were prepared from four precursor nanopowders by thermal decomposition of Ce-propionate and annealing in air between 250 °C–1200 °C for 10 min–240 min. Ceria formation reactions, structure, vibrational, luminescence and magnetic properties were investigated by differential scanning calorimetry, x-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, photoluminescence and SQUID. All the samples exhibit room temperature ferromagnetism, RTFM, (with coercivity, Hc, of 8 Oe - 121 Oe and saturation magnetization, Ms, of up to 6.7*10−3 emu/g) and a broad defect-related photoluminescence, PL, emission in the visible range. The samples derived from the same precursor show Ms proportional to the peak area of defect-related PL emission whereas this is not valid for the samples derived from the different precursors. An improvement of ferromagnetism and intensity of defect-related PL emission was observed when annealing the products in which nanocrystalline cerium oxide coexists with Ce - oxicarbonate traces, Ce2O2CO3. The experimental results were explained based on the following considerations: room temperature ferromagnetism was induced by the defective ceria with high concentration of oxygen vacancies generated by decomposition of Ce-propionate; oxygen vacancies of the starting precursor nanopowders could be redistributed (at the surfaces/grain boundaries, GBs) upon heating under conditions that promote an inert local environment; the decomposition of Ce2O2CO3 residues can provide an excess of oxygen vacancies at the nanoparticles surfaces or GBs, which can induce or enhance ferromagnetism; surfaces/GBs rather than bulk defects appear responsible for RTFM – this can explain the (often reported in literature) inconsistency between oxygen vacancies concentration and Ms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMaterials Chemistry and Physics
Pages (from-to)121-133
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Cerium oxide nanopowders
  • Ce - propionate
  • Ce2 O2 CO3
  • Ferromagnetism
  • Photoluminescence


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