Semiconductor-to-metallic flipping in a ZnFe2O4-graphene based smart nano-system: Temperature/microwave magneto-dielectric
Zn-(FeO2)2-graphene smart nano-composites were synthesized using a novel modified solvothermal synthesis with different percentages of graphene. The structure of the nanocomposite was confirmed through X-ray diffraction, micro-Raman scattering spectroscopy, Ultraviolet-Visible spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The structural growth and morphological aspects were analyzed using scanning/transmission electron microscopy, revealing marvelous micro-structural features of the assembled nano-system resembling amaple leaf. To determine the composition, energy dispersive spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were used. Microwave magneto-dielectric spectroscopy revealed the improved dielectric properties of the nano-composite compared to those of the parent functional nanocrystals. Temperature gradient dielectric spectroscopy was used over the spectral range from 100 Hz to 5 MHz to reveal the phenomenological effect that the nanosystem flips from its usual semiconductor nature to a metallic nature with sensing temperature. Electrical conductivity and dielectric analysis indicated that the dielectric loss and the dielectric permittivity increased at room temperature. This extraordinary switching capability of the functionalized graphene nanosystem opens up a new dimension for engineering advanced and efficient smart composite materials.