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    Fabrication and characterization of crystalline cubic bismuth zinc niobate pyrochlore (Bi<SUB>1.5</SUB>ZnNb<SUB>1.5</SUB>O<SUB>7</SUB>) nanoparticles derived by sol-gel

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    Here, we report the fabrication and characterization of crystalline cubic bismuth zinc niobate pyrochlore, Bi1.5ZnNb1.5O7, (BZN) nanoparticles. A novel sol-gel method is used for the synthesis of air-stable and precipitate-free diol-based sols of BZN which was dried at 150&#176;C and partially calcined at 350 &#176; C/1 h to decompose organics and bring down the free energy barrier for crystallization. Annealed at 450-700 &#176; C/1 h, BZN powder exhibited nanocrystalline morphology. The average BZN nanoparticle size were about 6, 60 and 85 nm for the samples annealed at 450, 600 and 700 &#176; C/1 h, respectively as observed by transmission electron microscope (TEM). The crystallinity and phase formation of the as synthesized nanoparticles were confirmed by the selected-area electron diffraction (SAED), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and high resolution TEM (HRTEM) analysis. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) analysis demonstrated that stoichiometric Bi1.5ZnNb1.5O7 was formed