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Ripening during magnetite nanoparticle synthesis: Resulting interfacial defects and magnetic properties

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4 Author(s)
Barker, Alex J. ; Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, UCB 427, Boulder, Colorado 80309 ; Cage, Brant ; Russek, Stephen ; Stoldt, Conrad R.

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The structure and magnetic properties of magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles synthesized by a solvothermal processing route are investigated. The nanoparticles are grown from the single organometallic precursor Fe(III) acetylacetonate in trioctylamine (TOA) solvent at 260 °C, with and without the addition of heptanoic acid (HA) as a stabilizing agent. From the temporal particle size distributions, x-ray-diffraction patterns, high-resolution transmission electron microscope tilt series experiments, and superconducting quantum interference device magnetometry, we demonstrate that HA, a strong Lewis acid stabilizing agent, slows growth processes during ripening thus reducing the formation of interfacial defects, which we observe in the TOA-only synthesis. Nanoparticles grown with HA remain single crystalline for long growth times (up to 24 h), show a focused particle size distribution for intermediate growth times (3 h), and possess a higher magnetic anisotropy (15.8×104 J/m3) than particles grown without the additional stabilizing agent. The reduced magnetic anisotropy value for the magnetite nanoparticles grown in TOA only (1.29×104 J/m3) is attributed to polycrystallinity induced by the uncontrolled ripening process. This work may have significance for contrast enhancement in magnetic resonance imaging.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:98 ,  Issue: 6 )

Date of Publication:

Sep 2005

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