Effect of silica shell thickness of Fe3O4-SiO x core-shell nanostructures on MRI contrast

Hrushikesh M. Joshi*, Mrinmoy De, Felix Richter, Jiaqing He, P. V. Prasad, Vinayak P. Dravid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Core-shell magnetic nanostructures (MNS) such as Fe3O 4-SiOx, are being explored for their potential applications in biomedicine, such as a T2 (dark) contrast enhancement agent in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Herein, we present the effect of silica shell thickness on its r 2 relaxivity in MRI as it relates to other physical parameters. In this effort initially, monodispersed Fe 3O4 MNS (nominally 9 nm size) were synthesized in organic phase via a simple chemical decomposition method. To study effect of shell thickness of silica of Fe3O4-SiOx core shell on r 2 relaxivity, the reverse micro-emulsion process was used to form silica coating of 5, 10 and 13 nm of silica shell around the MNS, while polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane was used to form very thin layer on the surface of MNS; synthesized nanostructures were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and high resolution TEM (HRTEM), superconducting quantum interference device magnetometry and MRI. Our observation suggests that, with increase in thickness of silica shell in Fe3O 4-SiOx core-shell nanostructure, r 2 relaxivity decreases. The decrease in relaxivity could be attributed to increased distance between water molecules and magnetic core followed by change in the difference in Larmor frequencies (Δω) of water molecules. These results provide a rational basis for optimization of SiOx-coated MNS for biomedical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1448
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Core-shell nanostructures
  • MRI
  • Magnetic nanoparticles
  • Relaxivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Chemistry
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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