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

Alex J. Barker, Brant Cage, Stephen Russek, Conrad R. Stoldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The structure and magnetic properties of magnetite (Fe3 O4) 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number063528
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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