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



Alexander J. Barker, Brant Cage, Stephen E. Russek, Conrad Stoldt


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 x 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 x 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.
Journal of Applied Physics


iron oxide, magnetic susceptibility, nanoparticle


Barker, A. , Cage, B. , Russek, S. and Stoldt, C. (2005), Ripening during magnetite nanoparticle synthesis: Resulting interfacial defects and magnetic properties, Journal of Applied Physics, [online], (Accessed May 27, 2024)


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Created October 2, 2005, Updated October 12, 2021