This paper describes an innovative and simple technique to synthesize anisotropic nanostructures of both lithium niobate (LiNbO3) and niobium oxide (Nb2O5). These materials were obtained using a solution-phase non-hydrolytic decomposition of LiNb(OPri)6 with or without the presence of Nb and Li-chlorides. The stability of LiCl is suggested as an explanation for the lack of LiNbO3 production in the chloride-based reaction. After 2 and 24 hours of reaction crystalline products of Nb2O5 and LiNbO3 are obtained without further thermal treatment. The products of both reactions contained a mixture of spherical and rod-like morphologies. Larger crystals of LiNbO3 and Nb2O5 were predominantly found to be anisotropic with aspect ratios of 7:1 and 3:1, respectively. These structures are believed to result from the natural anisotropy of the unit cell for these materials and from the use of triphenylphosphine oxide (TPPO) as a coordinating solvent. Our solution-phase synthesis is easily scaled-up as a one-pot procedure that offers a promising route to controlling crystal size and morphology. Details of the composition and the growth of our LiNbO3 and Nb2O5 nanostructures will be discussed in addition to the details of our experimental procedure.
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