Capturing Phase Evolution during Solvothermal Synthesis of Metastable Cu4O3

Zhelong Jiang, Shiliang Tian, Shuqi Lai, Rebecca D. McAuliffe, Steven P. Rogers, Moonsub Shim, Daniel P. Shoemaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The metastability of Cu4O3 has long hindered the synthetic preparation of bulk samples with substantial crystallinity. The lack of suitable samples has thwarted the detailed understanding of the magnetic properties of Cu4O3 and the ability to tune its properties. While Cu4O3 was recently shown to form in solvothermal reactions, the results are unpredictable, and the crystals are small. We developed a new, more uniform synthesis technique using sealed fused silica tubes. Interrogation of the solid and liquid phases resulting from this reaction has shed more light on the kinetic evolution of copper-containing phases and the microstructural correlation between different precipitation products. We find that direct conversion of the intermediate phase Cu2(NO3)(OH)3 to Cu4O3 is a likely consequence of dimethylformamide (DMF) triggered in situ reduction. The optimal reduction environment should be more straightforward to attain given the improved reliability of our method, and it remains under investigation. We verify the formation of Cu4O3 via X-ray diffraction, Raman microscopy, and SQUID magnetometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3080-3089
Number of pages10
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 10 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Materials Chemistry


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