Materials Sciences and Applications, 2010, 1, 19-24
doi:10.4236/msa.2010.11004 Published Online April 2010 (
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. MSA
Synthesis, Structural and Dielectric Studies of
Nickel Substituted Cobalt-Zinc Ferrite
Gangatharan Sathishkumar1, Chidambaram Venkataraju2, Kandasamy Sivakumar3
1Department of Physics, Sri Sairam Engineering College, Chennai, India; 2Department of Physics, A.M.A. College of Engineering,
Kancheepuram, India; 3Department of Physics, Anna University, Chennai, India.
Received January 18th, 2010; revised January 25th, 2010; accepted February 1st, 2010.
Nano particles of Co(0.5-x)NixZn0.5Fe2O4 (x = 0 to 0.3) is prepared by co-precipitation method. The X-ray diffraction
analysis indicates the formation of single phase ferrite particle in nano size. The lattice constant for Co0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4 is
found to be 8.38 Å, but the lattice constant decreases when cobalt is replaced by nickel up to x = 0.2 content. The for-
mation of Fe2+ in octahedral site increases the lattice constant for the concentration x = 0.3. The dielectric constant of
Co0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4 is found to be less than the bulk sample. The migration of Fe3+ ion from octahedral site to tetrahedral
site decreases the dielectric constant with increase in nickel concentration. The charge libration and electron hoping
together form the basis for the conduction mechanism in this present compound.
Keywords: Magnetic Materials, Chemical Synthesis, X-ray Diffraction, Dielectric Properties
1. Introduction
Ferrites are good dielectric materials having low conduc-
tivity and have wide applications in the field of micro-
wave devices. Nano crystalline ferrites are technologi-
cally important materials because of their unique electric,
dielectric, magnetic and optical properties, which makes
them suitable for many technological applications like
microwave devices, transformers, electric generators, st-
orage devices etc. [1]. When Co-Zn ferrites are subject-
ed to alternating magnetic field it shows low energy loss
[2]. Many studies on Co-Zn ferrites in the bulk crystal-
line form were prepared by usual ceramic technique [3,
4]. Ram Kripal Sharma has reported the synthesis of
chromium substituted nano particles of cobalt zinc ferri-
tes by coprecipitation method [5]. A. Tawfik has reported
the electro mechanical properties of Co0.6Zn0.4Fe2O4 fer-
rite transducer [6]. Josyulu [7] have studied the dielectric
behavior for Co-Zn, and Mg-Zn ferrites as a function of
temperature and frequency, Sonal Signaj has reported
preparation and characterization of nano sized nickel
substituted cobalt ferrite [8]. Gul et al. [9] have prepared
nanoparticles of Co1–xZnxFe2O4 with stoichiometric pro-
portion (x) varying from 0.0 to 0.6 by the chemical co-
precipitation method. In the present investigation the
studies on nano particles of Co(0.5-x)NixZn0.5Fe2O4(x = 0
to 0.3), synthesized by chemical co-precipitation method
is reported.
2. Experimental Details
Nano particles of Co(0.5-x)NixZn0.5Fe2O4 with x- varying
from x = 0.0 to 0.3 were prepared by coprecipitation met-
hod. Aqueous solution of FeCl3, ZnSO4·7H2O, CoCl2·6H2O
and NiCl2·6H2O in the respective stoichiometry (100 ml
of solution containg (0.5-x) M CoCl2, (x) M NiCl2, 0.5 M
ZnSO4 and 100 ml of 2 M FeCl3) were mixed thoroughly
using magnetic stirrer at 80. It is then transferred im-
mediately into a boiling solution of NaOH (0.55 M dis-
solved in 1330 ml of distilled water) under constant stir-
ring and a pH of 12 is maintained throughout the reaction.
Conversion of metal salts into hydroxides and subsequent
transformation of metal hydr- oxide into nanoferrites
takes place upon 100 and ma- intained for 60 minutes
until the reaction is complete. The nanoferrites thus
formed were isolated by centri- fugation and washed
several times with deionized water followed by acetone
and then dried at room temperature. The dried powder is
grounded thoroughly in a clean agate mortar and then the
material is pelletized at 5 ton pressure for about 3 min.
The pellet and the powder were sintered at 500 in a
furnace for about 2 hrs.
XRD measurement is done for the sample by PAN
analytical X'pert PRO diffractometer using cu Kα radia-
tion (operated at 45 kV and 40 mA) source. Data collec-
tion is done for every 10 sec at every 0.02°in the range
Synthesis, Structural and Dielectric Studies of Nickel Substituted Cobalt-Zinc Ferrite
20°to 80°in 2θ.
TEM analysais is done using High-resolution transmis-
sion electron microscopy (HRTEM) JEOL 3010, 300 kV
instrument with UHR pole piece for the sample x = 0.2.
The dielectric studies for the pelletized sample were
carried out between the temperatures 40 to 550 in
the frequency range 50 Hz to 10 MHz using HIOKI
3532-50 LCR HiTester. The Dielectric constant is meas-
ured using the relation, I = Cd/0 A, where C is the ca-
pacitance of the sample in Farad, d and A are the thick-
ness and area of the flat surface of the pellet and 0 the
constant of permittivity of the free space. Dielectric Loss
is calculated using the relation tan() = D and ac-con-
ductivity using the relation σac = I 0 ω tan().
3. Result and Discussion
3.1 XRD Analysis
Figure 1 shows the X-ray diffraction pattern of
Co(0.5-x)NixZn0.5Fe2O4 (with x = 0 to 0.3), it shows the
formation of spinel ferrite phase in all the samples. The
interplanar distance d (Å) are calculated using Bragg’s
law. The broad XRD line indicates that the ferrities par-
ticles are in nanosize. All the peaks in the diffraction
pattern have been indexed and the refinement of the lat-
tice parameter was done using PowderX software. The
crystalline size for each composition are calculated from
XRD line width of the (311) peak using Scherrer formula
[10]. The values of the particle size, lattice constant
measured density
m and the X-ray density
x as deduced
from the X-ray data are given by Table 1.
The measured density,
m is determined using the for-
m = m/(r2 h), where m is the mass, r the radius and
h the height of the sample. The X-ray density of the pre-
pared samples is calculated by the relation
x = 8 M/ Na3,
where M is the molecular weight of the samples, N is the
Avogadro’s number and ‘a’ is the lattice constant.
The lattice constant for Co0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4 in the present
investigation is 8.38 Å. This is similar to the values re-
ported by P. B. Pandya et al., and Ana Maria Rangel de
Figuerido Teixeira et al. [11,12]. The lattice constant de-
creases with the increase in Ni concentration up to x = 0.2.
This can be explained on the basis of cation stoichiome-
try. The ionic radius of Ni2+ ions (0.69Å) is smaller than
the ionic radius of Co2+ cations (0.72 Å) and hence the
replacement of Cobalt by Ni in NixCo(0.5-x)Zn0.5Fe2O4 ca-
uses a decrease in lattice constant obeying Vegard’s law.
The increase in lattice constant for the value x = 0.3 may
be due to the possible presence or formation of Fe2+ in
the octahedral sites. Since ionic radius of Fe2+ (0.74 Å)
ion is larger than Fe3+ ion (0.64 Å), the lattice constant
increases. The intensities of the (220) and (440) planes
are more sensitive to cations in tetrahedral and octahedral
sites respectively [13,14]. Ni2+ and Co2+ ion prefers oc-
tahedral sites whereas Fe3+ ions prefer both tetrahedral
and octahedral sites. When the particle size reduces to
nano dimension there is change in cation distribution [8]
Co2+ ion occupies both tetrahedral and octahedral sites.
From Table 2 it is clear that the intensity of (440) de-
creases with increase in Ni2+ concentration. This is ex-
plained due to the decrease in Co2+ ion in octahedral site
with the increase in Ni2+ concentration.
Figure 1. XRD pattern for the system Co(0.5-x)NixZn0.5Fe2O4
(x = 0 to 0.3)
Table 1. Structural parameters of NixCo(0.5-x)Zn0.5Fe2O4 sintered at 500
Composition Particle size ‘t’
Lattice constant
‘a’ (Å)
X-ray density
x (gm/cm3)
Measured density
m (gm/cm3)
x = 0.0 10.75 8.3778 5.3742 2.182 0.5944
x = 0.1 10.99 8.3555 5.4163 2.155 0.6022
x = 0.2 12.24 8.3429 5.4393 2.117 0.6108
x = 0.3 11.86 8.3496 5.4257 2.125 0.6083
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. MSA
Synthesis, Structural and Dielectric Studies of Nickel Substituted Cobalt-Zinc Ferrite21
Table 2. Comparison of X-ray intensity
Composition I(220) I(440)
x = 0.0 34.2 35
x = 0.1 34.28 30.97
x = 0.2 35.61 27.02
x = 0.3 34.71 31.17
The increase in intensity of (220) plane may be due to
the migration of Fe3+ ion from octahedral site to tetrahe-
dral site, as Co2+ ion is replaced by nickel. The intensities
are found to reverse for the concentration x = 0.3. This
may be due the presence of Fe2+ ion in the octahedral site
formed due to reduction of Fe3+ ions to Fe2+ ions for
higher nickel concentration.
3.2 Transmission Electron Microscopy Analysis
The particle size and morphology of the sample with x =
0.2 is shown in the Figure 2. The average particle size is
around 15 nm.
TEM analysis revealed that the particles are nearly sph-
erical. The particle size determined from TEM was found
to be in close agreement with that obtained from XRD
3.3 Dielectric Properties
3.3.1 Dielectric Constant
The variation in dielectric constant (εI) with frequency at
room temperature for the samples Co(0.5-x)NixZn0.5Fe2O4
with x = 0.0, 0.1, 0.2 and 0.3 is shown in Figure 3 The
dielectric constant is found to be less than bulk sample
for a frequency of 100 KHz at room temperature. The
dielectric constant for bulk Co0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4 as reported
Figure 2. TEM image of Co0.3Ni0.2Zn0.5Fe2O4
Figure 3. Effect of frequency on dielectric constant (ε) at
room temperature Co(0.5-x)NixZn0.5Fe2O4
by M. A. Ahmed [15] is 105, whereas in the present in-
vestigation the dielectric constant for Co0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4
with particle size 10 nm is calculated as 28. This low
dielectric loss is attributed to homogeneity, better sym-
metry and small grain size when compared with bulk
sample [16]. Small grains have large surface boundaries
and are the regions of high resistance, this reduces the
interfacial polarization. From Figure 3 it is clear that the
dielectric constant decreases with increase in frequency,
showing dispersion in low frequency range. All samples
show dispersion due to Maxwell-Wangner [17,18] and
are also in agreement with the Koop’s phenomenological
theory [19]. The decrease in dielectric constant at higher
frequency can be explained on the basis that the solid is
assumed as composed of well conducting grains and is
separated by non conducting grain boundaries, when
electrons reach such non conducting grain boundaries
through hopping the resistance of the grain boundary is
high, hence the electron pile up at the grain boundaries
and produce polarization. At higher frequency beyond a
particular limit, the electron does not follow the alternat-
ing field. This decreases the probability of electrons
reaching the grain boundary and as result polarization
decreases [17,19]. The decrease in dielectric constant with
increase in nickel concentration may be due to the migra-
tion of Fe3+ ions from octahedral site to tetrahedral site.
This decreases the hopping and hence decreases the
polarization up to x = 0.2. The increase in dielectric con-
stant for the concentration x = 0.3 may be due to the
formation of Fe2+ ions in octahedral site. The increase in
Fe2+ ions in octahedral site increases the hopping be-
tween Fe2+ and Fe3+ and hence increases the polarization.
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. MSA
Synthesis, Structural and Dielectric Studies of Nickel Substituted Cobalt-Zinc Ferrite
This results in the local displacement of electrons in the
direction of applied field thereby increasing the dielectric
Figure 4 shows the variation of dielectric constant at 1
MHz with temperature for mixed Co(0.5-x)NixZn0.5Fe2O4
(where x = 0.0 to 0.3). The dielectric constant increases
gradually with increase in temperature up to a certain tem-
perature desiginated as dielectric transition temperature
(Td). However beyond this temperature, the values of the
dielectric constant were found to decrease continuously.
A similar temperature variation of the dielectric const-
ant has been reported by D. Ravindra and K. Vijayaku-
mar [20], Olofa [21]. This change in the dielectric be-
havior beyond transition temperature may be due a mag-
netic transition from ferromagnetic to paramagnetic. The
increase in the dielectric constant with temperature can
be explained on the basis that as the temperature in-
creases the hopping between Fe2+ and Fe3+ ions on the
octahedral sites is thermally activated this electron hop-
ping causes local displacement in the direction of the
external applied field and as a result the dielectric po-
larization increases. Therefore the dielectric constant
increases. However beyond the transition temperature,
the ions and electrons are less oriented towards the field
direction and hence the dielectric constant deceases.
3.3.2 Dielectric Loss
Figure 5 shows the variation of dielectric loss tangent
tan (δ) with frequency at room temperature in all the cas-
es there is decrease in dielectric loss initially followed by
resonance peak with increase in frequency. The appeara-
nce of a resonance peak can be explained as follows. If
an ion has more than one equilibrium position, say two
positions A and B, of equal potential energies, separated
by a potential barrier, the probabilities of jumping of ions
from A to B and from B to A are the same. Depending
upon this probability, the ion exchanges position between
the two states with some frequency, called the natural fr-
equency of jump between the two positions. When an ex-
ternal alternating electric field of the same frequency is
applied, maximum electrical energy is transferred to the
oscillating ions and power loss shoots up, thereby resulti-
ng in resonance according to Debye relaxation theory [22].
The loss peak occurs when the applied field is in phase
with the dielectric and the condition ωτ = 1 is satisfied,
where ω = 2πƒ, ƒ being the frequency of the applied field
and τ the relaxation time is related to jumping probability
per unit time p, by an equation τ = p/2 or ƒmax p. Now
an increase in ƒmax with increasing Nickel content indica-
tes the hopping or jumping probability per unit time incr-
eases. The shifting of relaxation peak towards higher fre-
quency side is due to increase in nickel concentration si-
nce nickel prefers B-site which strengthens the dipole-
dipole interaction leading to hindrance to the rotation of
the dipoles [23].
Figure 4. Variation of dielectric constant (ε) with tempera-
ture at 1 MHz for Co(0.5-x)NixZn0.5Fe2O4
Figure 5 Plot of dielectric loss tangent with frequency for
3.3.3. A C Conductivity
Figure 6 shows the variation of ac conductivity (log)
with frequency at 300 K. The entire sample shows in-
crease in conductivity with increase in frequency, which
is the normal behavior of ferrites. The conduction
mechanism in ferrites can be explained on the basis of
hopping of charge carriers between Fe2+ - Fe3+ ions on
octahedral sites.
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. MSA
Synthesis, Structural and Dielectric Studies of Nickel Substituted Cobalt-Zinc Ferrite23
Figure 6. Plot of AC conductivity σ with frequency
4. Conclusions
The ferrite phase Co(0.5-x)NixZn0.5Fe2O4 (x = 0 to 0.3) is
prepared by co-precipitation technique. The ferrite phase
formation is confirmed by XRD studies. The particle size
is found to be 12 nm by XRD calculation, which is in
close agreement with the TEM result 15 nm. For nickel
content x = 0.0 to 0.2 there is a migration of Fe3+ ions
from octahedral site to tetrahedral site. For x = 0.3 there
is a formation of Fe2+ ion in the tetrahedral site due to
reduction of Fe3+ ions to Fe2+ ions for higher nickel con-
tent. This results in an increase in the lattice constant as
calculated from XRD analysis. Dielectric constant is fou-
nd to decreases with Ni content up to x = 0.2 and incre-
ases for nickel content x = 0.3. The charge libration and
electron hopping together form the basis for the conduc-
tion mechanism in Co(0.5-x)NixZn0.5Fe2O4 (x = 0 to 0.3)
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Synthesis, Structural and Dielectric Studies of Nickel Substituted Cobalt-Zinc Ferrite
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. MSA
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