Size- and Composition-Dependent Radio Frequency Magnetic Permeability of Iron Oxide Nanocrystals

We investigate the size- and composition-dependent ac magnetic permeability of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanocrystals for radio frequency (RF) applications. The nanocrystals are obtained through high-temperature decomposition synthesis, and their stoichiometry is determined by Mössbauer spectroscopy. Two sets of oxides are studied: (a) as-synthesized magnetite-rich and (b) aged maghemite nanocrystals. All nanocrystalline samples are confirmed to be in the superparamagnetic state at room temperature by SQUID magnetometry. Through the one-turn inductor method, the ac magnetic properties of the nanocrystalline oxides are characterized. In magnetite-rich iron oxide nanocrystals, size-dependent magnetic permeability is not observed, while maghemite iron oxide nanocrystals show clear size dependence. The inductance, resistance, and quality factor of hand-wound inductors with a superparamagnetic composite core are measured. The superparamagnetic nanocrystals are successfully embedded into hand-wound inductors to function as inductor cores.