Selective control over the morphology and the oxidation state of iron oxide nanoparticles

M. Escoda-Torroella, C. Moya, A. Fraile Rodríguez, X. Batlle, A. Labarta

Langmuir 2021, 37, 1, 35–45

Iron oxide nanoparticles (NPs) have been extensively used for both health and technological applications. The control over their morphology, crystal microstructure, and oxidation state is of great importance to optimize their final use. However, while mature in understanding, it is still far from complete. Here we report on the effect of the amount of 1,2-hexadecanediol and/or 1-octadecene in the reaction mixture on the thermal decomposition of iron(III) acetylacetonate in oleic acid for two series of iron oxide NPs with sizes ranging from 6 to 48 nm. We show that a low amount of either compound leads to both large, mixed-phase NPs composed of magnetite (Fe3O4) and wüstite (FeO) and high reaction yields. In contrast, a higher amount of either 1,2-hexadecanediol or 1-octadecene gives rise to smaller, single-phase NPs with moderate reaction yields. By infrared spectroscopy, we have elucidated the role of 1,2-hexadecanediol, which mediates the particle nucleation and growth. Finally, we have correlated the magnetic response and the structural features of the NPs for the two series of samples.