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Sol-Gel Synthesis of nanoparticles

There are two general ways available to produce nanomaterials. The first way is to start with a bulk material and then break it into smaller pieces using mechanical, chemical or other form of energy (top-down). An opposite approach is to synthesise the material from atomic or molecular species via chemical reactions, allowing for the precursor particles to grow in size (bottom-up). Both approaches can be done in either gas, liquid, supercritical fluids, solid states, or in vacuum. Most of the manufacturers are interested in the ability to control: a) particle size b) particle shape c) size distribution d) particle composition and e) degree of particle agglomeration. The sol gel technique is a long-established industrial process for the generation of colloidal nanoparticles from liquid phase, production of advanced nanomaterials and coatings. Sol-gel-processes are well adapted for oxide nanoparticles and composites nanopowders synthesis. The main advantages of sol-gel techniques for the preparation of materials are low temperature of processing, cost-effective, versatility, and flexible rheology allowing easy shaping and embedding. They offer unique opportunities for access to organic-inorganic materials. The most commonly used precursors of oxides are alkoxides, due to their commercial availability and to the high liability of the M-OR bond allowing facile tailoring in situ during processing.

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