AbstractsEarth & Environmental Science

Formation and alteration of magnetite nanoparticles

by Marc Widdrat

Institution: Universität Potsdam
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Record ID: 1116376
Full text PDF: https://publishup.uni-potsdam.de/opus4-ubp/frontdoor/index/index/docId/7223


Magnetite is an iron oxide, which is ubiquitous in rocks and is usually deposited as small nanoparticulate matter among other rock material. It differs from most other iron oxides because it contains divalent and trivalent iron. Consequently, it has a special crystal structure and unique magnetic properties. These properties are used for paleoclimatic reconstructions where naturally occurring magnetite helps understanding former geological ages. Further on, magnetic properties are used in bio- and nanotechnological applications –synthetic magnetite serves as a contrast agent in MRI, is exploited in biosensing, hyperthermia or is used in storage media. Magnetic properties are strongly size-dependent and achieving size control under preferably mild synthesis conditions is of interest in order to obtain particles with required properties. By using a custom-made setup, it was possible to synthesize stable single domain magnetite nanoparticles with the co-precipitation method. Furthermore, it was shown that magnetite formation is temperature-dependent, resulting in larger particles at higher temperatures. However, mechanistic approaches about the details are incomplete. Formation of magnetite from solution was shown to occur from nanoparticulate matter rather than solvated ions. The theoretical framework of such processes has only started to be described, partly due to the lack of kinetic or thermodynamic data. Synthesis of magnetite nanoparticles at different temperatures was performed and the Arrhenius plot was used determine an activation energy for crystal growth of 28.4 kJ mol-1, which led to the conclusion that nanoparticle diffusion is the rate-determining step. Furthermore, a study of the alteration of magnetite particles of different sizes as a function of their storage conditions is presented. The magnetic properties depend not only on particle size but also depend on the structure of the oxide, because magnetite oxidizes to maghemite under environmental conditions. The dynamics of this process have not been well described. Smaller nanoparticles are shown to oxidize more rapidly than larger ones and the lower the storage temperature, the lower the measured oxidation. In addition, the magnetic properties of the altered particles are not decreased dramatically, thus suggesting that this alteration will not impact the use of such nanoparticles as medical carriers. Finally, the effect of biological additives on magnetite formation was investigated. Magnetotactic bacteria¬¬ are able to synthesize and align magnetite nanoparticles of well-defined size and morphology due to the involvement of special proteins with specific binding properties. Based on this model of morphology control, phage display experiments were performed to determine peptide sequences that preferably bind to (111)-magnetite faces. The aim was to control the shape of magnetite nanoparticles during the formation. Magnetotactic bacteria are also able to control the intracellular redox potential with proteins called magnetochromes. MamP is such a…