Antisolvent Route to Ultrathin Hollow Spheres of Cerium Oxide for Enhanced CO Oxidation
- Alvin M. H. Lim and
- Hua Chun Zeng*
Cerium(IV) oxide (CeO2), or ceria, is one of the most abundant rare-earth materials that has been extensively investigated for its catalytic properties over the past two decades. However, due to the global scarcity and increasing cost of rare-earth materials, efficient utilization of this class of materials poses a challenging issue for the materials research community. Thus, this work is directed toward an exploration of making ultrathin hollow ceria or other rare-earth metal oxides and mixed rare-earth oxides in general. Such a hollow morphology appears to be attractive, especially when the thickness is trimmed to its limit, so that it can be viewed as a two-dimensional sheet of organized nanoscale crystallites, while remaining three-dimensional spatially. This ensures that both inner and outer shell surfaces can be better utilized in catalytic reactions if the polycrystalline sphere is further endowed with mesoporosity. Herein, we have devised our novel synthetic protocol for making ultrathin mesoporous hollow spheres of ceria or other desired rare-earth oxides with a tunable shell thickness in the region of 10 to 40 nm. Our ceria ultrathin hollow spheres are catalytically active and outperform other reported similar nanostructured ceria for the oxidation reaction of carbon monoxide in terms of fuller utilization of cerium. The versatility of this approach has also been extended to fabricating singular or multicomponent rare-earth metal oxides with the same ultrathin hollow morphology and structural uniformity. Therefore, this approach holds good promise for better utilization of rare-earth metal elements across their various technological applications, not ignoring nano-safety considerations.
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