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Magnetic nanoparticles

Magnetic nanoparticles are a versatile platform for a large number of applications, e.g. targeted drug delivery, novel ferrofluidic devices or functional nanomaterials with completely new properties unknown to regular solids.

Nanoparticle supercrystals (regular arrangements of nanoparticles) are in complete analogy to crystals in condensed matter. They constitute a fascinating novel type of material with tunable magnetic, electronic and optical properties. By choosing different nanoparticle materials, e.g. ferromagnetic, antiferromagnetic, ferroelectric, plasmonic or semiconducting materials or combinations thereof, a variety of magnetic and eventually multifunctional properties can be achieved.

We have investigated e.g. field-induced self-assembly of iron oxide nanoparticles in toluene by means of SANS. When sufficient magnetic field is applied, distinct Bragg peaks appear in the SANS pattern (see figure below, panels (a) and (b)), demonstrating the formation of a well-ordered supercrystal of particles (panel (c)). If one combines a ferroelectric material like BaTiO3 with ferrimagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles then a magneto-electric coupling can be observed. Such magneto-electric composites might become extremely energy efficient spintronic devices in the future.


Z. Fu, Y. Xiao, A. Feoktystov, V. Pipich, M.-S. Appavou, Y. Su, E. Feng, W. Jin, T. Brückel, Nanoscale 8, 18541 (2016)

L.-M. Wang, O. Petracic, E. Kentzinger, U. Rücker, M. Schmitz, X.-K. Wei, M. Heggen, Th. Brückel, Nanoscale 9, 12957 (2017)].

Contact: Oleg Petracic, A. Feoktystov, E. Kentzinger