Micrograph of the April from the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

Each month, the ISGS Newsletter features an interesting and striking micrograph (or series of micrographs) chosen from a recent issue of the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology or from unpublished sources such as PhD theses, etc (with full attribution given). If you know of any interesting images that might be suitable, please contact the ISGS Newsletter Editor for inclusion. The micrographs can be optical, SEM, TEM, AFM, etc, and a brief description of the samples should be provided.

This month’s images were again taken from two different papers in the latest issue of JSST and once again highlight the breadth of sol-gel science and technology, together with the areas in which our community is making an impact.

The first is taken from the work of Khizir and Abbas entitled “Hydrothermal growth and controllable synthesis of flower-shaped TiO2 nanorods on FTO coated glass” (JSST, (2021), https://doi.org/10.1007/s10971-021-05531-z), which explores the effect of hydrothermal reaction temperature on the structural evolution of titania nanorods deposited on fluorine-doped tin oxide substrates. Optimisation of the hydrothermal processing conditions results in an intriguing structure in which a vertical array of titania nanorods form a flower-like morphology on the FTO substrate. The effect of the substrate on the evolving structure is also explored by substituting the FTO substrate with an indium tin oxide substrate, which resulted in substantial cracking of the deposited layer.

The second series of micrographs is from the work of Shaoqiang, Dong, Geng, Lin, Hua, Jun, Yi, Minxia, Yaohua and Wei entitled “The influence of grain size on the magnetic properties of Fe3 O 4 nanocrystals synthesized by solvothermal method” (JSST, (2021), 98, 422-429; https://doi.org/10.1007/s10971-018-4909-2). This paper describes the effect of synthesis conditions on the shape of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles prepared via a solvothermal approach. The shapes of the nanoparticles obtained ranged from irregular structures, triangles and quadrilaterals to hexagonal nanocrystals with increasing solvothermal reaction time. The samples prepared using the longest reaction time could be readily separated from solution using an applied magnetic field, while those obtained at shorter reaction times could not.