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1.  A look inside epitaxial cobalt-on-fluorite nanoparticles with three-dimensional reciprocal space mapping using GIXD, RHEED and GISAXS 
Journal of Applied Crystallography  2013;46(Pt 4):874-881.
Three-dimensional reciprocal space mapping by X-ray and electron diffraction [namely grazing-incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXD), reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS)] was used to explore the internal structure and shape of differently oriented epitaxial Co/CaF2 facetted nanoparticles.
In this work epitaxial growth of cobalt on CaF2(111), (110) and (001) surfaces has been extensively studied. It has been shown by atomic force microscopy that at selected growth conditions stand-alone faceted Co nanoparticles are formed on a fluorite surface. Grazing-incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXD) and reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) studies have revealed that the particles crystallize in the face-centered cubic lattice structure otherwise non-achievable in bulk cobalt under normal conditions. The particles were found to inherit lattice orientation from the underlying CaF2 layer. Three-dimensional reciprocal space mapping carried out using X-ray and electron diffraction has revealed that there exist long bright 〈111〉 streaks passing through the cobalt Bragg reflections. These streaks are attributed to stacking faults formed in the crystal lattice of larger islands upon coalescence of independently nucleated smaller islands. Distinguished from the stacking fault streaks, crystal truncation rods perpendicular to the {111} and {001} particle facets have been observed. Finally, grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS) has been applied to decouple the shape-related scattering from that induced by the crystal lattice defects. Particle faceting has been verified by modeling the GISAXS patterns. The work demonstrates the importance of three-dimensional reciprocal space mapping in the study of epitaxial nanoparticles.
doi:10.1107/S0021889813008777
PMCID: PMC3769055  PMID: 24046491
cobalt-on-fluorite nanoparticles; grazing-incidence X-ray diffraction (GIXD); reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED); grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS); epitaxial growth; three-dimensional reciprocal space mapping
2.  Nanoscaled alloy formation from self-assembled elemental Co nanoparticles on top of Pt films 
Summary
The thermally activated formation of nanoscale CoPt alloys was investigated, after deposition of self-assembled Co nanoparticles on textured Pt(111) and epitaxial Pt(100) films on MgO(100) and SrTiO3(100) substrates, respectively. For this purpose, metallic Co nanoparticles (diameter 7 nm) were prepared with a spacing of 100 nm by deposition of precursor-loaded reverse micelles, subsequent plasma etching and reduction on flat Pt surfaces. The samples were then annealed at successively higher temperatures under a H2 atmosphere, and the resulting variations of their structure, morphology and magnetic properties were characterized. We observed pronounced differences in the diffusion and alloying of Co nanoparticles on Pt films with different orientations and microstructures. On textured Pt(111) films exhibiting grain sizes (20–30 nm) smaller than the particle spacing (100 nm), the formation of local nanoalloys at the surface is strongly suppressed and Co incorporation into the film via grain boundaries is favoured. In contrast, due to the absence of grain boundaries on high quality epitaxial Pt(100) films with micron-sized grains, local alloying at the film surface was established. Signatures of alloy formation were evident from magnetic investigations. Upon annealing to temperatures up to 380 °C, we found an increase both of the coercive field and of the Co orbital magnetic moment, indicating the formation of a CoPt phase with strongly increased magnetic anisotropy compared to pure Co. At higher temperatures, however, the Co atoms diffuse into a nearby surface region where Pt-rich compounds are formed, as shown by element-specific microscopy.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.2.51
PMCID: PMC3190617  PMID: 22003453
alloy; Co; CoPt; epitaxy; HRTEM; magnetometry; nanoparticles; Pt; XMCD
3.  Phase transition on the Si(001) clean surface prepared in UHV MBE chamber: a study by high-resolution STM and in situ RHEED 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2011;6(1):218.
The Si(001) surface deoxidized by short annealing at T ~ 925°C in the ultrahigh vacuum molecuar beam epitaxy chamber has been in situ investigated using high-resolution scanning tunneling microscopy (STM)and redegreesected high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED. RHEED patterns corresponding to (2 × 1) and (4 × 4) structures were observed during sample treatment. The (4 × 4) reconstruction arose at T ≲ 600°C after annealing. The reconstruction was observed to be reversible: the (4 × 4) structure turned into the (2 × 1) one at T ≳ 600°C, the (4 × 4) structure appeared again at recurring cooling. The c(8 × 8) reconstruction was revealed by STM at room temperature on the same samples. A fraction of the surface area covered by the c(8 × 8) structure decreased, as the sample cooling rate was reduced. The (2 × 1) structure was observed on the surface free of the c(8 × 8) one. The c(8 × 8) structure has been evidenced to manifest itself as the (4 × 4) one in the RHEED patterns. A model of the c(8 × 8) structure formation has been built on the basis of the STM data. Origin of the high-order structure on the Si(001) surface and its connection with the epinucleation phenomenon are discussed.
PACS 68.35.B-·68.37.Ef·68.49.Jk·68.47.Fg
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-218
PMCID: PMC3211275  PMID: 21711733
Silicon; Surface reconstruction; Scanning tunnelling microscopy; Reflected high energy electron diffraction; Clean surface preparation
4.  The Role of Frozen Spins in the Exchange Anisotropy of Core–Shell Fe@Fe3O4 Nanoparticles 
Core–shell Fe@Fe3O4 nanoparticles exhibit substantial exchange bias at low temperatures, mediated by unidirectionally aligned moments at the core–shell interface. These spins are frozen into magnetic alignment with field cooling, and are depinned in a temperature-dependent manner. The population of such frozen spins has a direct impact on both coercivity (HC) and the exchange-bias field (HE), which are modulated by external physical parameters such as the strength of the applied cooling field and the cycling history of magnetic field sweeps (training effect). Aging of the core–shell nanoparticles under ambient conditions results in a gradual decrease in magnetization but overall retention of HC and HE, as well as a large increase in the population of frozen spins. These changes are accompanied by a structural evolution from well-defined core–shell structures to particles containing multiple voids, attributable to the Kirkendall effect. Energy-filtered and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy both indicate further oxidation of the shell layer, but the Fe core is remarkably well preserved. The increase in frozen spin population with age is responsible for the overall retention of exchange bias, despite void formation and other oxidation-dependent changes. The exchange-bias field becomes negligible upon deliberate oxidation of Fe@Fe3O4 nanoparticles into yolk–shell particles, with a nearly complete physical separation of core and shell.
doi:10.1021/jp110716g
PMCID: PMC3037546  PMID: 21321674
magnetic nanoparticles; exchange bias; core–shell; Kirkendall effect
5.  Magnetic coupling mechanisms in particle/thin film composite systems 
Summary
Magnetic γ-Fe2O3 nanoparticles with a mean diameter of 20 nm and size distribution of 7% were chemically synthesized and spin-coated on top of a Si-substrate. As a result, the particles self-assembled into a monolayer with hexagonal close-packed order. Subsequently, the nanoparticle array was coated with a Co layer of 20 nm thickness. The magnetic properties of this composite nanoparticle/thin film system were investigated by magnetometry and related to high-resolution transmission electron microscopy studies. Herein three systems were compared: i.e. a reference sample with only the particle monolayer, a composite system where the particle array was ion-milled prior to the deposition of a thin Co film on top, and a similar composite system but without ion-milling. The nanoparticle array showed a collective super-spin behavior due to dipolar interparticle coupling. In the composite system, we observed a decoupling into two nanoparticle subsystems. In the ion-milled system, the nanoparticle layer served as a magnetic flux guide as observed by magnetic force microscopy. Moreover, an exchange bias effect was found, which is likely to be due to oxygen exchange between the iron oxide and the Co layer, and thus forming of an antiferromagnetic CoO layer at the γ-Fe2O3/Co interface.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.1.12
PMCID: PMC3045930  PMID: 21977399
exchange bias; iron oxide nanoparticles; nanoparticle self-assembly; nanoparticle-thinfilm composite; super-spin glass interaction
6.  Ge/Si(001) heterostructures with dense arrays of Ge quantum dots: morphology, defects, photo-emf spectra and terahertz conductivity 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2012;7(1):414.
Issues of Ge hut cluster array formation and growth at low temperatures on the Ge/Si(001) wetting layer are discussed on the basis of explorations performed by high resolution STM and in-situ RHEED. Dynamics of the RHEED patterns in the process of Ge hut array formation is investigated at low and high temperatures of Ge deposition. Different dynamics of RHEED patterns during the deposition of Ge atoms in different growth modes is observed, which reflects the difference in adatom mobility and their ‘condensation’ fluxes from Ge 2D gas on the surface for different modes, which in turn control the nucleation rates and densities of Ge clusters. Data of HRTEM studies of multilayer Ge/Si heterostructures are presented with the focus on low-temperature formation of perfect films.
Heteroepitaxial Si p–i–n-diodes with multilayer stacks of Ge/Si(001) quantum dot dense arrays built in intrinsic domains have been investigated and found to exhibit the photo-emf in a wide spectral range from 0.8 to 5 μm. An effect of wide-band irradiation by infrared light on the photo-emf spectra has been observed. Photo-emf in different spectral ranges has been found to be differently affected by the wide-band irradiation. A significant increase in photo-emf is observed in the fundamental absorption range under the wide-band irradiation. The observed phenomena are explained in terms of positive and neutral charge states of the quantum dot layers and the Coulomb potential of the quantum dot ensemble. A new design of quantum dot infrared photodetectors is proposed.
By using a coherent source spectrometer, first measurements of terahertz dynamical conductivity (absorptivity) spectra of Ge/Si(001) heterostructures were performed at frequencies ranged from 0.3 to 1.2 THz in the temperature interval from 300 to 5 K. The effective dynamical conductivity of the heterostructures with Ge quantum dots has been discovered to be significantly higher than that of the structure with the same amount of bulk germanium (not organized in an array of quantum dots). The excess conductivity is not observed in the structures with the Ge coverage less than 8 Å. When a Ge/Si(001) sample is cooled down the conductivity of the heterostructure decreases.
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-414
PMCID: PMC3466158  PMID: 22824144
7.  Atomic-scale engineering of magnetic anisotropy of nanostructures through interfaces and interlines 
Nature Communications  2012;3:1313-.
The central goals of nanoscale magnetic materials science are the self-assembly of the smallest structure exhibiting ferromagnetic hysteresis at room temperature, and the assembly of these structures into the highest density patterns. The focus has been on chemically ordered alloys combining magnetic 3d elements with polarizable 5d elements having high spin–orbit coupling and thus yielding the desired large magneto-crystalline anisotropy. The chemical synthesis of nanoparticles of these alloys yields disordered phases requiring annealing to transform them to the high-anisotropy L10 structure. Despite considerable efforts, so far only part of the nanoparticles can be transformed without coalescence. Here we present an alternative approach to homogeneous alloys, namely the creation of nanostructures with atomically sharp bimetallic interfaces and interlines. They exhibit unexpectedly high magnetization reversal energy with values and directions of the easy magnetization axes strongly depending on chemistry and texture. We find significant deviations from the expected behaviour for commonly used element combinations. Ab-initio calculations reproduce these results and unravel their origin.
The design and assembly of nanostructures exhibiting ferromagnetic hysteresis at room temperature are recognized goals for high-density data storage. Here, the authors engineer nanostructures with atomically sharp bimetallic interfaces and interlines, which exhibit large magnetic anisotropy and high temperature hysteresis.
doi:10.1038/ncomms2316
PMCID: PMC3535417  PMID: 23271648
8.  Enhanced pulsed magneto-motive ultrasound imaging using superparamagnetic nanoclusters 
Nanotechnology  2010;22(4):045502.
Recently, pulsed magneto-motive ultrasound (pMMUS) imaging augmented with ultra-small magnetic nanoparticles has been introduced as a tool capable of imaging events at molecular and cellular levels. The sensitivity of a pMMUS system depends on several parameters, including the size, geometry and magnetic properties of the nanoparticles. Under the same magnetic field, larger magnetic nanostructures experience a stronger magnetic force and produce larger displacement, thus improving the sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of pMMUS imaging. Unfortunately, large magnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles are typically ferromagnetic and thus are very difficult to stabilize against colloidal aggregation. In the current study we demonstrate improvement of pMMUS image quality by using large size superparamagnetic nanoclusters characterized by strong magnetization per particle. Water-soluble magnetic nanoclusters of two sizes (15 and 55 nm average size) were synthesized from 3 nm iron precursors in the presence of citrate capping ligand. The size distribution of synthesized nanoclusters and individual nanoparticles was characterized using dynamic light scattering (DLS) analysis and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Tissue mimicking phantoms containing single nanoparticles and two sizes of nanoclusters were imaged using a custom-built pMMUS imaging system. While the magnetic properties of citrate-coated nanoclusters are identical to those of superparamagnetic nanoparticles, the magneto-motive signal detected from nanoclusters is larger, i.e. the same magnetic field produced larger magnetically induced displacement. Therefore, our study demonstrates that clusters of superparamagnetic nanoparticles result in pMMUS images with higher contrast and SNR.
doi:10.1088/0957-4484/22/4/045502
PMCID: PMC3059156  PMID: 21157009
9.  Simulating Magnetic Nanoparticle Behavior in Low-field MRI under Transverse Rotating Fields and Imposed Fluid Flow 
In the presence of alternating-sinusoidal or rotating magnetic fields, magnetic nanoparticles will act to realign their magnetic moment with the applied magnetic field. The realignment is characterized by the nanoparticle’s time constant, τ. As the magnetic field frequency is increased, the nanoparticle’s magnetic moment lags the applied magnetic field at a constant angle for a given frequency, Ω, in rad/s. Associated with this misalignment is a power dissipation that increases the bulk magnetic fluid’s temperature which has been utilized as a method of magnetic nanoparticle hyperthermia, particularly suited for cancer in low-perfusion tissue (e.g., breast) where temperature increases of between 4°C and 7°C above the ambient in vivo temperature cause tumor hyperthermia. This work examines the rise in the magnetic fluid’s temperature in the MRI environment which is characterized by a large DC field, B0. Theoretical analysis and simulation is used to predict the effect of both alternating-sinusoidal and rotating magnetic fields transverse to B0. Results are presented for the expected temperature increase in small tumors (~1 cm radius) over an appropriate range of magnetic fluid concentrations (0.002 to 0.01 solid volume fraction) and nanoparticle radii (1 to 10 nm). The results indicate that significant heating can take place, even in low-field MRI systems where magnetic fluid saturation is not significant, with careful The goal of this work is to examine, by means of analysis and simulation, the concept of interactive fluid magnetization using the dynamic behavior of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle suspensions in the MRI environment. In addition to the usual magnetic fields associated with MRI, a rotating magnetic field is applied transverse to the main B0 field of the MRI. Additional or modified magnetic fields have been previously proposed for hyperthermia and targeted drug delivery within MRI. Analytical predictions and numerical simulations of the transverse rotating magnetic field in the presence of B0 are investigated to demonstrate the effect of Ω, the rotating field frequency, and the magnetic field amplitude on the fluid suspension magnetization. The transverse magnetization due to the rotating transverse field shows strong dependence on the characteristic time constant of the fluid suspension, τ. The analysis shows that as the rotating field frequency increases so that Ωτ approaches unity, the transverse fluid magnetization vector is significantly non-aligned with the applied rotating field and the magnetization’s magnitude is a strong function of the field frequency. In this frequency range, the fluid’s transverse magnetization is controlled by the applied field which is determined by the operator. The phenomenon, which is due to the physical rotation of the magnetic nanoparticles in the suspension, is demonstrated analytically when the nanoparticles are present in high concentrations (1 to 3% solid volume fractions) more typical of hyperthermia rather than in clinical imaging applications, and in low MRI field strengths (such as open MRI systems), where the magnetic nanoparticles are not magnetically saturated. The effect of imposed Poiseuille flow in a planar channel geometry and changing nanoparticle concentration is examined. The work represents the first known attempt to analyze the dynamic behavior of magnetic nanoparticles in the MRI environment including the effects of the magnetic nanoparticle spin-velocity. It is shown that the magnitude of the transverse magnetization is a strong function of the rotating transverse field frequency. Interactive fluid magnetization effects are predicted due to non-uniform fluid magnetization in planar Poiseuille flow with high nanoparticle concentrations.
doi:10.1016/j.jmmm.2010.03.029
PMCID: PMC2901184  PMID: 20625540
Magnetic nanoparticles; MRI; rotating magnetic field; interactive magnetization; magnetic particle imaging
10.  Spin Polarization and Quantum Spins in Au Nanoparticles 
The present study focuses on investigating the magnetic properties and the critical particle size for developing sizable spontaneous magnetic moment of bare Au nanoparticles. Seven sets of bare Au nanoparticle assemblies, with diameters from 3.5 to 17.5 nm, were fabricated with the gas condensation method. Line profiles of the X-ray diffraction peaks were used to determine the mean particle diameters and size distributions of the nanoparticle assemblies. The magnetization curves M(Ha) reveal Langevin field profiles. Magnetic hysteresis was clearly revealed in the low field regime even at 300 K. Contributions to the magnetization from different size particles in the nanoparticle assemblies were considered when analyzing the M(Ha) curves. The results show that the maximum particle moment will appear in 2.4 nm Au particles. A similar result of the maximum saturation magnetization appearing in 2.3 nm Au particles is also concluded through analysis of the dependency of the saturation magnetization MP on particle size. The MP(d) curve departs significantly from the 1/d dependence, but can be described by a log-normal function. Magnetization can be barely detected for Au particles larger than 27 nm. Magnetic field induced Zeeman magnetization from the quantum confined Kubo gap opening appears in Au nanoparticles smaller than 9.5 nm in diameter.
doi:10.3390/ijms140917618
PMCID: PMC3794745  PMID: 23989607
Au nanoparticle; spontaneous particle moment; field induced Zeeman magnetization
11.  In situ Control of Si/Ge Growth on Stripe-Patterned Substrates Using Reflection High-Energy Electron Diffraction and Scanning Tunneling Microscopy 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2010;5(12):1935-1941.
Si and Ge growth on the stripe-patterned Si (001) substrates is studied using in situ reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). During Si buffer growth, the evolution of RHEED patterns reveals a rapid change of the stripe morphology from a multifaceted “U” to a single-faceted “V” geometry with {119} sidewall facets. This allows to control the pattern morphology and to stop Si buffer growth once a well-defined stripe geometry is formed. Subsequent Ge growth on “V”-shaped stripes was performed at two different temperatures of 520 and 600°C. At low temperature of 520°C, pronounced sidewall ripples are formed at a critical coverage of 4.1 monolayers as revealed by the appearance of splitted diffraction streaks in RHEED. At 600°C, the ripple onset is shifted toward higher coverages, and at 5.2 monolayers dome islands are formed at the bottom of the stripes. These observations are in excellent agreement with STM images recorded at different Ge coverages. Therefore, RHEED is an efficient tool for in situ control of the growth process on stripe-patterned substrate templates. The comparison of the results obtained at different temperature reveals the importance of kinetics on the island formation process on patterned substrates.
doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9814-8
PMCID: PMC2991170  PMID: 21170141
Quantum dots; Silicon; Germanium; Molecular beam epitaxy; Patterned substrates; Reflection high-energy electron diffraction; Scanning tunneling microscopy
12.  In situ Control of Si/Ge Growth on Stripe-Patterned Substrates Using Reflection High-Energy Electron Diffraction and Scanning Tunneling Microscopy 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2010;5(12):1935-1941.
Si and Ge growth on the stripe-patterned Si (001) substrates is studied using in situ reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). During Si buffer growth, the evolution of RHEED patterns reveals a rapid change of the stripe morphology from a multifaceted “U” to a single-faceted “V” geometry with {119} sidewall facets. This allows to control the pattern morphology and to stop Si buffer growth once a well-defined stripe geometry is formed. Subsequent Ge growth on “V”-shaped stripes was performed at two different temperatures of 520 and 600°C. At low temperature of 520°C, pronounced sidewall ripples are formed at a critical coverage of 4.1 monolayers as revealed by the appearance of splitted diffraction streaks in RHEED. At 600°C, the ripple onset is shifted toward higher coverages, and at 5.2 monolayers dome islands are formed at the bottom of the stripes. These observations are in excellent agreement with STM images recorded at different Ge coverages. Therefore, RHEED is an efficient tool for in situ control of the growth process on stripe-patterned substrate templates. The comparison of the results obtained at different temperature reveals the importance of kinetics on the island formation process on patterned substrates.
doi:10.1007/s11671-010-9814-8
PMCID: PMC2991170  PMID: 21170141
Quantum dots; Silicon; Germanium; Molecular beam epitaxy; Patterned substrates; Reflection high-energy electron diffraction; Scanning tunneling microscopy
13.  Ultrafine metallic Fe nanoparticles: synthesis, structure and magnetism 
Summary
The results of the investigation of the structural and magnetic (static and dynamic) properties of an assembly of metallic Fe nanoparticles synthesized by an organometallic chemical method are described. These nanoparticles are embedded in a polymer, monodisperse, with a diameter below 2 nm, which corresponds to a number of around 200 atoms. The X-ray absorption near-edge structure and Mössbauer spectrum are characteristic of metallic Fe. The structural studies by wide angle X-ray scattering indicate an original polytetrahedral atomic arrangement similar to that of β-Mn, characterized by a short-range order. The average magnetic moment per Fe atom is raised to 2.59 µB (for comparison, bulk value of metallic Fe: 2.2 µB). Even if the spontaneous magnetization decreases rapidly as compared to bulk materials, it remains enhanced even up to room temperature. The gyromagnetic ratio measured by ferromagnetic resonance is of the same order as that of bulk Fe, which allows us to conclude that the orbital and spin contributions increase at the same rate. A large magnetic anisotropy for metallic Fe has been measured up to (3.7 ± 1.0)·105 J/m3. Precise analysis of the low temperature Mössbauer spectra, show a broad distribution of large hyperfine fields. The largest hyperfine fields display the largest isomer shifts. This indicates a progressive increase of the magnetic moment inside the particle from the core to the outer shell. The components corresponding to the large hyperfine fields with large isomer shifts are indeed characteristic of surface atoms.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.1.13
PMCID: PMC3045918  PMID: 21977400
iron nanoparticles; magnetic properties; organometallic synthesis; size effects; structure
14.  Characterization of Single-core Magnetite Nanoparticles for Magnetic Imaging by SQUID-relaxometry 
Physics in medicine and biology  2010;55(19):10.1088/0031-9155/55/19/023.
Optimizing the sensitivity of SQUID (superconducting quantum interference device)-relaxometry for detecting cell-targeted magnetic nanoparticles for in vivo diagnostics requires nanoparticles with a narrow particle size distribution to ensure that the Néel relaxation times fall within the measurement timescale (50 ms - 2 s, in this work). To determine the optimum particle size, single-core magnetite nanoparticles (with nominal average diameters 20, 25, 30, and 35 nm) were characterized by SQUID-relaxometry, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), SQUID-susceptometry, dynamic light scattering, and zeta potential analysis. The SQUID-relaxometry signal (detected magnetic moment/kg) from both the 25 nm and 30 nm particles was an improvement over previously-studied multi-core particles. However, the detected moments were an order of magnitude lower than predicted based on a simple model that takes into account the measured size distributions (but neglects dipolar interactions and polydispersity of the anisotropy energy density), indicating that improved control of several different nanoparticle properties (size, shape, coating thickness) will be required to achieve the highest detection sensitivity. Antibody conjugation and cell incubation experiments show that single-core particles enable a higher detected moment per cell, but also demonstrate the need for improved surface treatments to mitigate aggregation and improve specificity.
doi:10.1088/0031-9155/55/19/023
PMCID: PMC3883308  PMID: 20858918
15.  Nanocrystalline materials: recent advances in crystallographic characterization techniques 
IUCrJ  2014;1(Pt 6):530-539.
This feature article reviews the control and understanding of nanoparticle shape from their crystallography and growth. Particular emphasis is placed on systems relevant for plasmonics and catalysis.
Most properties of nanocrystalline materials are shape-dependent, providing their exquisite tunability in optical, mechanical, electronic and catalytic properties. An example of the former is localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR), the coherent oscillation of conduction electrons in metals that can be excited by the electric field of light; this resonance frequency is highly dependent on both the size and shape of a nanocrystal. An example of the latter is the marked difference in catalytic activity observed for different Pd nanoparticles. Such examples highlight the importance of particle shape in nanocrystalline materials and their practical applications. However, one may ask ‘how are nanoshapes created?’, ‘how does the shape relate to the atomic packing and crystallography of the material?’, ‘how can we control and characterize the external shape and crystal structure of such small nanocrystals?’. This feature article aims to give the reader an overview of important techniques, concepts and recent advances related to these questions. Nucleation, growth and how seed crystallography influences the final synthesis product are discussed, followed by shape prediction models based on seed crystallography and thermodynamic or kinetic parameters. The crystallographic implications of epitaxy and orientation in multilayered, core-shell nanoparticles are overviewed, and, finally, the development and implications of novel, spatially resolved analysis tools are discussed.
doi:10.1107/S2052252514020818
PMCID: PMC4224471  PMID: 25485133
nanocrystalline materials; plasmonics; shape prediction models
16.  Oriented attachment explains cobalt ferrite nanoparticle growth in bioinspired syntheses 
Summary
Oriented attachment has created a great debate about the description of crystal growth throughout the last decade. This aggregation-based model has successfully described biomineralization processes as well as forms of inorganic crystal growth, which could not be explained by classical crystal growth theory. Understanding the nanoparticle growth is essential since physical properties, such as the magnetic behavior, are highly dependent on the microstructure, morphology and composition of the inorganic crystals. In this work, the underlying nanoparticle growth of cobalt ferrite nanoparticles in a bioinspired synthesis was studied. Bioinspired syntheses have sparked great interest in recent years due to their ability to influence and alter inorganic crystal growth and therefore tailor properties of nanoparticles. In this synthesis, a short synthetic version of the protein MMS6, involved in nanoparticle formation within magnetotactic bacteria, was used to alter the growth of cobalt ferrite. We demonstrate that the bioinspired nanoparticle growth can be described by the oriented attachment model. The intermediate stages proposed in the theoretical model, including primary-building-block-like substructures as well as mesocrystal-like structures, were observed in HRTEM measurements. These structures display regions of substantial orientation and possess the same shape and size as the resulting discs. An increase in orientation with time was observed in electron diffraction measurements. The change of particle diameter with time agrees with the recently proposed kinetic model for oriented attachment.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.5.23
PMCID: PMC3943800  PMID: 24605288
bioinspired synthesis; cobalt ferrite nanoparticles; nanoparticle growth; oriented attachment; polypeptide
17.  Influence of calcination temperature on structural and magnetic properties of nanocomposites formed by Co-ferrite dispersed in sol-gel silica matrix using tetrakis(2-hydroxyethyl) orthosilicate as precursor 
Effects of calcination temperatures varying from 400 to 1000°C on structural and magnetic properties of nanocomposites formed by Co-ferrite dispersed in the sol-gel silica matrix using tetrakis(2-hydroxyethyl) orthosilicate (THEOS) as water-soluble silica precursor have been investigated. Studies carried out using XRD, FT-IR, TEM, STA (TG-DTG-DTA) and VSM techniques. Results indicated that magnetic properties of samples such as superparamagnetism and ferromagnetism showed great dependence on the variation of the crystallinity and particle size caused by the calcination temperature. The crystallization, saturation magnetization Ms and remenant magnetization Mr increased as the calcination temperature increased. But the variation of coercivity Hc was not in accordance with that of Ms and Mr, indicating that Hc is not determined only by the crystallinity and size of CoFe2O4 nanoparticles. TEM images showed spherical nanoparticles dispersed in the silica network with sizes of 10-30 nm. Results showed that the well-established silica network provided nucleation locations for CoFe2O4 nanoparticles to confinement the coarsening and aggregation of nanoparticles. THEOS as silica matrix network provides an ideal nucleation environment to disperse CoFe2O4 nanoparticles and thus to confine them to aggregate and coarsen. By using THEOS as water-soluble silica precursor over the currently used TEOS and TMOS, the organic solvents are not needed owing to the complete solubility of THEOS in water. Synthesized nanocomposites with adjustable particle sizes and controllable magnetic properties make the applicability of Co-ferrite even more versatile.
doi:10.1186/1752-153X-5-19
PMCID: PMC3088885  PMID: 21486494
18.  Mineralogy of Iron Microbial Mats from Loihi Seamount 
Extensive mats of Fe oxyhydroxides and associated Fe-oxidizing microbial organisms form in diverse geochemical settings – freshwater seeps to deep-sea vents – where ever opposing Fe(II)-oxygen gradients prevail. The mineralogy, reactivity, and structural transformations of Fe oxyhydroxides precipitated from submarine hydrothermal fluids within microbial mats remains elusive in active and fossil systems. In response, a study of Fe microbial mat formation at the Loihi Seamount was conducted to describe the physical and chemical characteristics of Fe-phases using extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy, powder X-ray diffraction, synchrotron radiation X-ray total scattering, low-temperature magnetic measurements, and Mössbauer spectroscopy. Particle sizes of 3.5–4.6 nm were estimated from magnetism data, and coherent scattering domain (CSD) sizes as small as 1.6 nm are indicated by pair distribution function (PDF) analysis. Disorder in the nanostructured Fe-bearing phases results in limited intermediate-range structural order: less than that of standard two-line ferrihydrite (Fh), except for the Pohaku site. The short-range ordered natural Fh (FhSRO) phases were stable at 4°C in the presence of oxygen for at least 1 year and during 400°C treatment. The observed stability of the FhSRO is consistent with magnetic observations that point to non-interacting nanoparticles. PDF analyses of total scattering data provide further evidence for FhSRO particles with a poorly ordered silica coating. The presence of coated particles explains the small CSD for the mat minerals, as well as the stability of the minerals over time and against heating. The mineral properties observed here provide a starting point from which progressively older and more extensively altered Fe deposits may be examined, with the ultimate goal of improved interpretation of past biogeochemical conditions and diagenetic processes.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2012.00118
PMCID: PMC3316996  PMID: 22485113
EXAFS; total X-ray scattering; Mössbauer; magnetism; microbial mat; Loihi Seamount; biomineral; nanoparticle
19.  Activity of glucose oxidase functionalized onto magnetic nanoparticles 
Background
Magnetic nanoparticles have been significantly used for coupling with biomolecules, due to their unique properties.
Methods
Magnetic nanoparticles were synthesized by thermal co-precipitation of ferric and ferrous chloride using two different base solutions. Glucose oxidase was bound to the particles by direct attachment via carbodiimide activation or by thiophene acetylation of magnetic nanoparticles. Transmission electron microscopy was used to characterize the size and structure of the particles while the binding of glucose oxidase to the particles was confirmed using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.
Results
The direct binding of glucose oxidase via carbodiimide activity was found to be more effective, resulting in bound enzyme efficiencies between 94–100% while thiophene acetylation was 66–72% efficient. Kinetic and stability studies showed that the enzyme activity was more preserved upon binding onto the nanoparticles when subjected to thermal and various pH conditions. The overall activity of glucose oxidase was improved when bound to magnetic nanoparticles
Conclusion
Binding of enzyme onto magnetic nanoparticles via carbodiimide activation is a very efficient method for developing bioconjugates for biological applications
doi:10.1186/1477-044X-3-1
PMCID: PMC555562  PMID: 15762994
20.  Effect of large mechanical stress on the magnetic properties of embedded Fe nanoparticles 
Summary
Magnetic nanoparticles are promising candidates for next generation high density magnetic data storage devices. Data storage requires precise control of the magnetic properties of materials, in which the magnetic anisotropy plays a dominant role. Since the total magneto-crystalline anisotropy energy scales with the particle volume, the storage density in media composed of individual nanoparticles is limited by the onset of superparamagnetism. One solution to overcome this limitation is the use of materials with extremely large magneto-crystalline anisotropy. In this article, we follow an alternative approach by using magneto-elastic interactions to tailor the total effective magnetic anisotropy of the nanoparticles. By applying large biaxial stress to nanoparticles embedded in a non-magnetic film, it is demonstrated that a significant modification of the magnetic properties can be achieved. The stress is applied to the nanoparticles through expansion of the substrate during hydrogen loading. Experimental evidence for stress induced magnetic effects is presented based on temperature-dependent magnetization curves of superparamagnetic Fe particles. The results show the potential of the approach for adjusting the magnetic properties of nanoparticles, which is essential for application in future data storage media.
doi:10.3762/bjnano.2.31
PMCID: PMC3148048  PMID: 21977439
hydrogen in metals; magnetic anisotropy; magnetic data storage; magneto-elastic interactions; nanoparticles; superparamagnetism; thin films
21.  Dynamic Nanoparticles Assemblies 
Accounts of chemical research  2012;45(11):1916-1926.
CONSPECTUS
Importance
Although nanoparticle (NP) assemblies are at the beginning of their development, their unique geometrical shapes and media-responsive optical, electronic and magnetic properties have attracted significant interest. Nanoscale assembly bridges multiple sizes of materials: individual nanoparticles, discrete molecule-like or virus-like nanoscale agglomerates, microscale devices, and macroscale materials. The capacity to self-assemble can greatly facilitate the integration of nanotechnology with other technologies and, in particular, with microscale fabrication. In this Account, we describe developments in the emerging field of dynamic NP assemblies, which are spontaneously formed superstructures containing more than two inorganic nanoscale particles that display ability to change their geometrical, physical, chemical, and other attributes. In many ways, dynamic assemblies can represent a bottleneck in the ‘bottom-up’ fabrication of NP-based devices because they can produce a much greater variety of assemblies, but they also provide a convenient tool for variation of geometries and dimensions of nanoparticle assemblies.
Classification
Superstructures of NPs (and those held together by similar intrinsic forces) are classified into two groups: Class 1 where media and external fields can alter shape, conformation, and order of stable superstructures with a nearly constant number same. The future development of successful dynamic assemblies requires understanding the equilibrium in dynamic NP systems. The dynamic nature of Class 1 assemblies is associated with the equilibrium between different conformations of a superstructure and is comparable to the isomerization in classical chemistry. Class 2 assemblies involve the formation and/or breakage of linkages between the NPs, which is analogous to the classical chemical equilibrium for the formation of a molecule from atoms. Finer classification of NP assemblies in accord with established conventions in the field may include different size dimensionalities: discrete assemblies (artificial molecules), one-dimensional (spaced chains) and two-dimensional (sheets) and three-dimensional (superlattices, twisted structures) assemblies. Notably, these dimensional attributes must be regarded as primarily topological in nature because all of these superstructures can acquire complex three-dimensional shapes.
Preparation
We discuss three primary strategies used to prepare NP superstructures: (1) anisotropy-based assemblies utilizing either intrinsic force field anisotropy around NPs or external anisotropy associated with templates and/or applied fields; (2) assembly methods utilizing uniform NPs with isotropic interactions; and (3) methods based on mutual recognition of biomolecules, such as DNA and antigen-antibody interactions.
Applications
We consider optical, electronic, and magnetic properties of dynamic superstructures, focusing primarily on multiparticle effects in NP superstructures as represented by surface plasmon resonance, NP-NP charge transport, and multibody magnetization. Unique properties of NP superstructures are being applied to biosensing, drug delivery, and nanoelectronics. For both Class 1 and Class 2 dynamic assemblies, biosensing is the most dominant and well-developed area of dynamic nanostructures being successfully transitioned into practice. We can foresee the rapid development of dynamic NP assemblies toward applications in harvesting of dissipated energy, photonics, and electronics. The final part of the review is devoted to the fundamental questions facing dynamic assemblies of NPs in the future.
doi:10.1021/ar200305f
PMCID: PMC3479329  PMID: 22449243
22.  Surface Confined Metallosupramolecular Architectures: Formation and STM Characterization 
Accounts of chemical research  2009;42(2):249-259.
CONSPECTUS
Metallosupramolecular compounds have attracted a great deal of attention over the past two decades largely because of their unique, highly-complex structural characteristics, the fact that they can be prepared with relative ease using coordination-driven self-assembly techniques, and their potential electronic, magnetic, optical, and catalytic properties. In particular, the use of electron-poor square planar Pt(II) transition metals in conjunction with rigid, electron-rich pyridyl donors had enabled the spontaneous self-assembly of a rich library of 2D metallacyclic and 3D metallacage assemblies via the directional-bonding approach. With the tremendous progress that has been made in the preparation and characterization of metallosupramolecules, much attention is now being turned toward fully exploring and developing their materials properties.
Assembling metallosupramolecular compounds on solid supports represents a vitally important step toward developing their materials properties. Surfaces provide a means of uniformly aligning and orienting these highly symmetric metallacycles and metallacages, which increases the level of coherence between molecules above that which can be achieved in the solution phase and affords a means of integrating adlayers into a solid-state materials setting. The dynamic nature of kinetically labile Pt(II)-N coordination bonds, however, requires that deposition and imaging conditions be appropriate to retain the assemblies' stability. Toward these aims it is imperative to understand the factors that govern surface self-assembly and the interactions that influence the structure and stability of the resulting adlayer. Such insight can be obtained from Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM), which has emerged as a powerful technique for the imaging and characterization of self-assembled adlayers.
This account describes the means by which 2D rectangular and square metallacycles and 3D trigonal bipyrimidal and chiral trigonal prism metallacages can be deposited on Highly Oriented Pyrolytic Graphite (HOPG) and Au(111) substrates such that the assemblies remain intact and result in ordered adlayers. The effects of varying the size, symmetry, and dimensionality of supramolecular adsorbates, the choice of substrate, the use of a molecular template, and the effects of chirality have been investigated. These systematic investigations provide much insight into the various adsorbate-adsorbate and substrate-adsorbate interactions that largely determine the architecture of each assembly and affect their performance in a materials setting. Exhibiting the ability to rationally control adlayer formation and structure will greatly enhance the potential of these supramolecules to be used in a variety of applications such as in host-guest sensing/diagnostic systems, molecular electronic devices, and in heterogeneous stereoselective synthesis and catalysis.
doi:10.1021/ar800117j
PMCID: PMC2654282  PMID: 19072706
23.  Small Multifunctional Nanoclusters (Nanoroses) for Targeted Cellular Imaging and Therapy 
ACS nano  2009;3(9):2686-2696.
The ability of 20–50 nm nanoparticles to target and modulate the biology of specific types of cells will enable major advancements in cellular imaging and therapy in cancer and atherosclerosis. A key challenge is to load an extremely high degree of targeting, imaging, and therapeutic functionality into small, yet stable particles. Herein we report ~30 nm stable uniformly sized near-infrared (NIR) active, superparamagnetic nanoclusters formed by kinetically controlled self-assembly of gold-coated iron oxide nanoparticles. The controlled assembly of nanocomposite particles into clusters with small primary particle spacings produces collective responses of the electrons that shift the absorbance into the NIR region. The nanoclusters of ~70 iron oxide primary particles with thin gold coatings display intense NIR (700–850 nm) absorbance with a cross section of ~10−14 m2. Because of the thin gold shells with an average thickness of only 2 nm, the r2 spin–spin magnetic relaxivity is 219 mM−1 s−1, an order of magnitude larger than observed for typical iron oxide particles with thicker gold shells. Despite only 12% by weight polymeric stabilizer, the particle size and NIR absorbance change very little in deionized water over 8 months. High uptake of the nanoclusters by macrophages is facilitated by the dextran coating, producing intense NIR contrast in dark field and hyperspectral microscopy, both in cell culture and an in vivo rabbit model of atherosclerosis. Small nanoclusters with optical, magnetic, and therapeutic functionality, designed by assembly of nanoparticle building blocks, offer broad opportunities for targeted cellular imaging, therapy, and combined imaging and therapy.
doi:10.1021/nn900440e
PMCID: PMC2841963  PMID: 19711944
gold; iron oxide; nanocluster; near-infrared; macrophage targeted imaging; MRI; atherosclerosis; cancer
24.  Deposition of Size-Selected Cu Nanoparticles by Inert Gas Condensation 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;5(1):180-188.
Nanometer size-selected Cu clusters in the size range of 1–5 nm have been produced by a plasma-gas-condensation-type cluster deposition apparatus, which combines a grow-discharge sputtering with an inert gas condensation technique. With this method, by controlling the experimental conditions, it was possible to produce nanoparticles with a strict control in size. The structure and size of Cu nanoparticles were determined by mass spectroscopy and confirmed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron transmission microscopy (STEM) measurements. In order to preserve the structural and morphological properties, the energy of cluster impact was controlled; the energy of acceleration of the nanoparticles was in near values at 0.1 ev/atom for being in soft landing regime. From SEM measurements developed in STEM-HAADF mode, we found that nanoparticles are near sized to those values fixed experimentally also confirmed by AFM observations. The results are relevant, since it demonstrates that proper optimization of operation conditions can lead to desired cluster sizes as well as desired cluster size distributions. It was also demonstrated the efficiency of the method to obtain size-selected Cu clusters films, as a random stacking of nanometer-size crystallites assembly. The deposition of size-selected metal clusters represents a novel method of preparing Cu nanostructures, with high potential in optical and catalytic applications.
doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9462-z
PMCID: PMC2893918  PMID: 20652132
Cu nanoparticles; Inert gas condensation; Cu cluster films; Structure of nanoscale materials
25.  Deposition of Size-Selected Cu Nanoparticles by Inert Gas Condensation 
Nanoscale Research Letters  2009;5(1):180-188.
Nanometer size-selected Cu clusters in the size range of 1–5 nm have been produced by a plasma-gas-condensation-type cluster deposition apparatus, which combines a grow-discharge sputtering with an inert gas condensation technique. With this method, by controlling the experimental conditions, it was possible to produce nanoparticles with a strict control in size. The structure and size of Cu nanoparticles were determined by mass spectroscopy and confirmed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron transmission microscopy (STEM) measurements. In order to preserve the structural and morphological properties, the energy of cluster impact was controlled; the energy of acceleration of the nanoparticles was in near values at 0.1 ev/atom for being in soft landing regime. From SEM measurements developed in STEM-HAADF mode, we found that nanoparticles are near sized to those values fixed experimentally also confirmed by AFM observations. The results are relevant, since it demonstrates that proper optimization of operation conditions can lead to desired cluster sizes as well as desired cluster size distributions. It was also demonstrated the efficiency of the method to obtain size-selected Cu clusters films, as a random stacking of nanometer-size crystallites assembly. The deposition of size-selected metal clusters represents a novel method of preparing Cu nanostructures, with high potential in optical and catalytic applications.
doi:10.1007/s11671-009-9462-z
PMCID: PMC2893918  PMID: 20652132
Cu nanoparticles; Inert gas condensation; Cu cluster films; Structure of nanoscale materials

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