Tantalum oxide is a white crystalline powder that is insoluble in water. It is used in the optics industry to adjust the color behavior of lenses. In addition, it is also used to apply non-reflective coatings to lenses. Moreover, it is suitable for optical applications such as medical imaging, X-rays, and cell phones.
The chemical and physical properties of tantalum oxide are similar to those of niobium oxide. They have good electrical and thermal properties and excellent corrosion resistance. These characteristics make it a suitable additive in alloys and alloy components, such as ceramics.
Tantalum oxide has a specific surface area of 3 m2/g. However, it is difficult to obtain ultrapure tantalum pentoxide.
The synthesis of nanosized Ta2O5 particles is possible using the solvothermal reaction of tantalum pentabutoxide. Also, it is possible to prepare Ta2O5 helices by sol-gel polymerization of metal alkoxides. Another technique is to use a ligand-assisted templating method, in which an organic metal precursor is synthesized.
Niobium oxides can be precipitated from solutions by weak acid. A typical method is to introduce ammonium ions into a solution of niobium. Once the initial niobium ions have dissolved, they can precipitate both crystalline and amorphous compounds.
The structure of Ta2O5 is complex, and is often described as bridging two or three tantalum atoms with six oxygens. However, a more simplified model indicates that Ta2O5 has a single-atom-thick helix.
The production of tantalum oxide is a significant target for nanoscale fabrication. Besides being a catalyst, it is also an important additive in alloys.