Monodispersed SiO2-shell/ZnO-core composite nanospheres have been prepared in an oil-in-water microemulsion system. By using cyclohexane as the oil phase and Triton X-100 as the surfactant, composite nanospheres with high core loading levels and tunable shell thickness were obtained. Utilization of PVP capping agent on ZnO allowed the synthesis of composite nanospheres without forming any coreless SiO2 spheres or shell-less ZnO particles. The photoactivity of ZnO nanoparticles was greatly reduced by SiO2-coating, which enables their applications as durable, safe, and nonreactive UV blockers in plastics, coating, and other products.
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