Templated assembly of BiFeO3 nanocrystals into 3D mesoporous networks for catalytic applications†
The self-assembly of uniform nanocrystals into large porous architectures is currently of immense interest for nanochemistry and nanotechnology. These materials combine the respective advantages of discrete nanoparticles and mesoporous structures. In this article, we demonstrate a facile nanoparticle templating process to synthesize a three-dimensional mesoporous BiFeO3 material. This approach involves the polymer-assisted aggregating assembly of 3-aminopropanoic acid-stabilized bismuth ferrite (BiFeO3) nanocrystals followed by thermal decomposition of the surfactant. The resulting material consists of a network of tightly connected BiFeO3 nanoparticles (∼6–7 nm in diameter) and has a moderately high surface area (62 m2 g−1) and uniform pores (ca. 6.3 nm). As a result of the unique mesostructure, the porous assemblies of BiFeO3 nanoparticles show an excellent catalytic activity and chemical stability for the reduction of p-nitrophenol to p-aminophenol with NaBH4.