Nanostructure Development in Alkoxide-Carboxylate-Derived Precursor Films of Barium Titanate

Tomasz Stawski, Sjoerd Veldhuis, R. Besselink, H.L. Castricum, G. Portale, David H.A. Blank, Johan E. ten Elshof

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The structural evolution in wet alkoxide-carboxylate sol–gel precursor films of barium titanate upon drying was investigated by time-resolved small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). The morphology of as-dried amorphous precursor thin films was investigated by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS). Sols were prepared from titanium(IV) iso-propoxide in 2-methoxyethanol and barium acetate in acetic acid. The structures that were visible with SAXS could be divided into oligomeric structures with fractal-like scattering characteristics, and randomly packed agglomerates of nanoparticles of similar size. The fractal-like morphologies disappeared during film drying, probably because they were not stable in the absence of a solvent matrix. Only the ordered agglomerate-like structures remained in the as-dried films. EELS on as-dried films showed that spatial separation between barium and titanium-rich domains occurred during the drying of the thin films on a length scale of nanometers, depending on hydrolysis ratio. This demonstrates that as-dried films are not necessarily uniform on the mesoscopic level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-434
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of physical chemistry C
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • METIS-288491
  • IR-81870


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