Silver halide-containing photochromic powders of SiO2 sol–gel glass

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n order to develop a photochromic powder, an SiO2-gel based on tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) was doped with AgNO3 or AgNO2. The dried gel pieces were pulverized and treated with aqueous or ethanolic halide solutions for growing silver halide microcrystals. Both the introduction of cuprous compounds such as CuBr, CuCl, Cu2O, Cu(CH3COO)2·H2O or sulphur-containing compounds and the formation of AgBrxCl1−x crystals lead to variations of photochromic properties. X-ray diffraction measurements indicate that the average diameters of silver halide microcrystals are limited to 70–110nm. Ultraviolet–visible spectroscopic investigations show the reversibility of the darkening/fading process. Cu+-containing samples exhibit a remarkable fading even at room temperature.

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