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© 2014 American Chemical Society. We introduce an approach to synthesize rare earth oxide nanoparticles using high temperature without aggregation of the nanoparticles. The dispersity of the nanoparticles is controlled at the nanoscale by using small organosilane molds as reaction containers. Zeptoliter reaction vessels prepared from organosilane self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) were used for the surface-directed synthesis of rare earth oxide (REO) nanoparticles. Nanopores of octadecyltrichlorosilane were prepared on Si(111) using particle lithography with immersion steps. The nanopores were filled with a precursor solution of erbium and yttrium salts to confine the crystallization step to occur within individual zeptoliter-sized organosilane reaction vessels. Areas between the nanopores were separated by a matrix film of octadecyltrichlorosilane. With heating, the organosilane template was removed by calcination to generate a surface array of erbium-doped yttria nanoparticles. Nanoparticles synthesized by the surface-directed approach retain the periodic arrangement of the nanopores formed from mesoparticle masks. While bulk rare earth oxides can be readily prepared by solid state methods at high temperature (>900 °C), approaches for preparing REO nanoparticles are limited. Conventional wet chemistry methods are limited to low temperatures according to the boiling points of the solvents used for synthesis. To achieve crystallinity of REO nanoparticles requires steps for high-temperature processing of samples, which can cause self-aggregation and dispersity in sample diameters. The facile steps for particle lithography address the problems of aggregation and the requirement for high-temperature synthesis.

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ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces

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