A Comparison between Solution-Based Synthesis Methods of ZrO2 Nanomaterials for Energy Storage Applications

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The present study is focused on the synthesis of zirconium dioxide (ZrO2) nanomaterials using the hydrothermal method assisted by microwave irradiation and solution combustion synthesis. Both synthesis techniques resulted in ZrO2 powders with a mixture of tetragonal and monoclinic phases. For microwave synthesis, a further calcination treatment at 800 °C for 15 min was carried out to produce nanopowders with a dominant monoclinic ZrO2 phase, as attested by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Raman spectroscopy. The thermal behavior of the ZrO2 nanopowder was investigated by in situ XRD measurements. From the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images, the presence of near spherical nanoparticles was clear, and TEM confirmed the ZrO2 phases that comprised the calcinated nanopowders, which include a residual tetragonal phase. The optical properties of these ZrO2 nanopowders were assessed through photoluminescence (PL) and PL excitation (PLE) at room temperature (RT), revealing the presence of a broad emission band peaked in the visible spectral region, which suffers a redshift in its peak position, as well as intensity enhancement, after the calcination treatment. The powder resultant from the solution combustion synthesis was composed of plate-like structures with a micrometer size; however, ZrO2 nanoparticles with different shapes were also observed. Thin films were also produced by solution combustion synthesis and deposited on silicon substrates to produce energy storage devices, i.e., ZrO2 capacitors. The capacitors that were prepared from a 0.2 M zirconium nitrate-based precursor solution in 2-methoxyethanol and annealed at 350 °C exhibited an average dielectric constant (κ) of 11 ± 0.5 and low leakage current density of 3.9 ± 1.1 × 10−7 A/cm2 at 1 MV/cm. This study demonstrates the simple and cost-effective aspects of both synthesis routes to produce ZrO2 nanomaterials that can be applied to energy storage devices, such as capacitors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6452
Number of pages21
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2022


  • energy storage devices
  • microwave irradiation
  • nanomaterials
  • solution combustion
  • ZrO


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