Quantification of Dipolar Interactions in Fe3-xO4 Nanoparticles

C.Moya, O. Iglesias, X. Batlle, A. Labarta

A general method for the quantification of dipolar interactions in assemblies of nanoparticles has been developed from a model sample constituted by magnetite nanoparticles of 5 nm in diameter, in powder form with oleic acid as a surfactant so that the particles were solely separated from each other through an organic layer of about 1 nm in thickness. This quantification is based on the comparison of the distribution of energy barriers for magnetization reversal obtained from time-dependent relaxation measurements starting from either (i) an almost random orientation of the particles’ magnetizations or (ii) a collinear arrangement of them prepared by previously field cooling the sample. Experimental results and numerical simulations show that the mean dipolar field acting on each single particle is significantly reduced when particles’ magnetizations are collinearly aligned. Besides the intrinsic distribution of the energy barriers, anisotropy for the noninteracting case was evaluated from a reference sample where the same magnetic particles were individually coated with a thick silica shell in order to make dipolar interactions negligible. Interestingly, the results of the numerical simulations account for the relative energy shift of the experimental energy barrier distributions corresponding to the interacting and noninteracting cases, thus, supporting the validity of the proposed method for the quantification of dipolar interactions.