Phase-pure iron pyrite (FeS2) micro- and nano-sized crystals synthesized by simple one-step microwave-assisted hydrothermal method

Rodrigo Henríquez, Cesar Vásquez, EDUARDO CARLO MUÑOZ CARTAGENA, Paula Grez, Francisco Martín, José R. Ramos-Barrado, Enrique A. Dalchiele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Iron pyrite micro- and nano-sized crystals are desirable as active materials in lithium ion batteries and photovoltaics, and are particularly suitable for nanocrystal inks for roll-to-roll deposited or ink-jet printed solar cells. In this paper we report the synthesis of iron pyrite micro- and nano-sized crystals via simple and convenient green one-step microwave-assisted hydrothermal (M − H) process at relatively low growth temperatures, using commonly used precursors such as FeCl3, Na2S and S8 and. The structural, morphological and optical properties of the resulting nanostructured materials have been thoroughly investigated for two typical M − H growth temperatures. X-ray diffraction (XRD) pattern and Raman data revealed good crystalline quality for the as synthesized pyrite NCs. Typical XRD patterns show the dominant peaks which can be indexed as a pure cubic phase of FeS2, with lattice constant values close to the lattice parameters reported for FeS2, and in agreement with a stoichiometric pyrite phase. XRD and Raman analysis also confirm that no other impurities phases such as hexagonal FeS, marcasite, pyrrhotite, greigite, S or Fe–O compounds were detected, confirming the high purity of the synthesized iron pyrite nanocrystals. Various shapes of pyrite like quasi-cubic, cubic and flower-like FeS2 nanocrystals have been observed, which can be modulated by using different synthetic conditions. The sizes of the pyrite micro- and nanostructures were in the range of 150 nm to 1 μm as obtained. The present study indicates that the M − H method is a facile one-step way to obtain phase pure iron pyrite micro- and nano-sized crystals. Optical characterization confirms direct bandgap transitions (values of 2.61 eV and 2.55 eV for iron pyrite NCs samples hydrothermal grown at 130 °C and 160 °C, respectively), and indirect bandgap transitions (values of 1.19 eV and 1.52 eV for samples hydrothermal grown at 130 °C and 160 °C, respectively). Optical studies show high absorbance in the entire UV–Vis wavelength range making the as-synthesized pyrite nanocrystals potential candidate as absorber in nanoscale photovoltaic solar cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113881
JournalPhysica E: Low-Dimensional Systems and Nanostructures
Volume118
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Iron pyrite
  • Microwave-assisted hydrothermal process
  • Nanocrystals
  • Optical properties

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