Synthesis and characterisation of nanosized TiO2-ZrO2 binary system prepared by an aqueous sol-gel process: Physical and sensing properties

M. R. Mohammadi (Lead / Corresponding author), D. J. Fray

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    43 Citations (Scopus)


    Nanostructured TiO2-ZrO2 thin films and powders were prepared by a straightforward aqueous particulate sol-gel route. Titanium (IV) isopropoxide and zirconium (IV) acetate hydrate were used as precursors, and hydroxypropyl cellulose was used as a polymeric fugitive agent in order to increase the specific surface area. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy revealed that the powder were crystallised at the low temperature of 500 °C, containing anatase-TiO 2 and tetragonal-ZrO2 phases. Furthermore, it was found that ZrO2 retarded the anatase-to-rutile transformation up to 900 °C. The activation energies for crystallite growth of TiO2 and ZrO2 components in the binary system were calculated 10.16 and 3.12 kJ/mol, respectively. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) image showed that one of the smallest crystallite sizes was obtained for TiO2-ZrO 2 binary mixed oxide, being 5 nm at 500 °C. Field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM) analysis revealed that the deposited thin films had nanostructured morphology with the average grain size of 20 nm at 500 °C and 36 nm at 900 °C. Thin films produced under optimised conditions showed excellent microstructural properties for gas sensing applications. They exhibited a remarkable response towards low concentrations of CO and NO 2 gases at low operating temperature of 150 °C, resulted in an increase of thermal stability of sensing films as well as a decrease in the power consumption. Furthermore, calibration curves revealed that TiO 2-ZrO2 sensor follows the power law, S = A[gas] B (where S is sensor response, coefficients A and B are constants and [gas] is gas concentration) for the two types of gases, and it has excellent capability for the detection of low gas concentrations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)568-576
    Number of pages9
    JournalSensors and Actuators, B: Chemical
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2011


    • Aqueous sol-gel
    • Nanostructure
    • Titanium dioxide
    • Zirconium oxide

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
    • Instrumentation
    • Condensed Matter Physics
    • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
    • Metals and Alloys
    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
    • Materials Chemistry


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