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  • 1 Department of Physics, Patna Women’s College, Patna University, Patna 800 001, India
  • | 2 Vidya Vihar Institute of Technology, Purnea 854 301, India
  • | 3 Department of Physics, Patna University, Patna 800 005, India
  • | 4 University Department of Chemistry, Magadh University, Bodh Gaya 824 234, India
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Abstract

Two aluminate spinel materials (ZnAl2O4 and NiAl2O4) were synthesized by the citrate precursor method. The citrate precursors consisting of coprecipitated citrates of Zn2+ or Ni2+ and aluminum were first subjected to thermal analysis (TG-DSC) for determining the optimum temperature for annealing. Two step decomposition was observed incorporating dehydration and formation of the aluminate. The second step gives an endo peak (−2937 J/g) at 356 °C in the DSC curve of the coprecipitated nickel(II) citrate–aluminum citrate gel in O2 atmosphere. Kinetic/mechanistic analysis of the TG data has also been carried out and values of Ea, ΔS#, ΔG#, and A were approximated. On the basis of the findings, 450 °C has been chosen for annealing of the gels. Annealing has also been done at 650 °C for 1 h in muffle furnace in an attempt to obtain nanometric particles of aluminates (MAl2O4) {M = Ni, Zn} and to find out their magnetic properties which could render them useful for chemical sensing applications, etc. The TG-DSC curves of various powders which were obtained on annealing at the two temperatures did exhibit thermal instability when carried out in N2 atmosphere. NiAl2O4 and ZnAl2O4 spinels (particle size 17 and 34 nm, respectively) are obtained in pure crystalline phase at 650 °C. ZnAl2O4 prepared this way shows coercivity values of 470 and 58.37 G and NiAl2O4, 107 and 23.24 G when annealed at 450 and 650 °C, respectively. ZnAl2O4 prepared by a polymer precursor method and annealed at 1000 °C, has earlier been reported to have coercivity value of 469 G. Thus, the citrate precursor method is good for the synthesis of ZnAl2O4, producing single phase nanocrystalline powder of high quality and crystallinity. The value of magnetization was found to be small in the present case for the NiAl2O4 spinel obtained at 450 °C.

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