Aqueous medium induced optical transitions in cerium oxide nanoparticles†
Experimental and theoretical investigations were performed to investigate the effect of water on optical properties of nanoceria as a function of Ce3+ concentration. Theoretical studies based on density functional plane-wave calculations reveal that the indirect optical transitions in bare ceria nanoparticles are red-shifted with an increase in the concentration of Ce3+. However, ceria nanoparticles model with adsorbed water molecules show a blue shift in the indirect optical spectra under identical conditions. Direct optical transitions are almost independent of Ce3+ concentration but show a pronounced blue shift in the aqueous environment relative to the bare nanoparticles. The theoretical study is consistent with our experimental observation in difference of shift behaviour in bare and aqueous suspended ceria nanoparticles. This change from red- to blue-shift in indirect optical transitions is associated with the polarization effect of water molecules on f-electron states.