Thermal plasma synthesis of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles

Pingyan Lei, Adam M. Boies, Steven Calder, Steven L. Girshick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles were synthesized by injecting ferrocene vapor and oxygen into an argon/helium DC thermal plasma. Size distributions of particles in the reactor exhaust were measured online using an aerosol extraction probe interfaced to a scanning mobility particle sizer, and particles were collected on transmission electron microscopy (TEM) grids and glass fiber filters for off-line characterization. The morphology, chemical and phase composition of the nanoparticles were characterized using TEM and X-ray diffraction, and the magnetic properties of the particles were analyzed with a vibrating sample magnetometer and a magnetic property measurement system. Aerosol at the reactor exhaust consisted of both single nanocrystals and small agglomerates, with a modal mobility diameter of 8-9 nm. Powder synthesized with optimum oxygen flow rate consisted primarily of magnetite (Fe 3O 4), and had a room-temperature saturation magnetization of 40.15 emu/g, with a coercivity and remanence of 26 Oe and 1.5 emu/g, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)519-531
Number of pages13
JournalPlasma Chemistry and Plasma Processing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2012


  • DC thermal plasma
  • Iron oxide
  • Magnetic properties
  • Nanoparticles

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