Fe3O4/CeO2 nanocomposites were synthetized by coating magnetite seeds of different morphologies (hexagonal, spheroidal, quasi-spherical) with ceria, in ethylene glycol as solvothermal solvent. The synthesis was performed in the presence of microwave irradiation aiming to overcome the common disadvantages proper of the classic solvothermal/hydrothermal procedure. The obtained nanocomposites were calcined at the optimum temperature of 550 °C. The structure of the new nanomaterials was carefully investigated by IR, XRD, SEM, EDS and TEM analyses. The nanocomposites resulted to be constituted by CeO2 nanoparticles distributed onto Fe3O4 seeds, that kept their pristine morphology. The new materials were used as catalysts for imine synthesis from benzyl alcohol and aniline. The highest imine conversion rate was obtained with Fe3O4/CeO2, which was synthesized from Fe3O4 nanoparticles (hexagonal) obtained by microwave hydrothermal procedure in the absence of any organic additive (polyvinylpyrrolidone, trisodium citrate dihydrate or oleic acid). The catalyst could be easily removed from the reaction mixture with the help of an external magnet, and it was recycled for at least five runs with increasing catalytic activity.
Full paper: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4344/10/11/1325