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Hardening of Cobalt Ferrite Nanoparticles by Local Crystal Strain Release: Implications for Rare Earth Free Magnets

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Version 2 2022-10-05, 13:34
Version 1 2022-09-21, 08:03
journal contribution
posted on 2022-10-05, 13:34 authored by Beatrice Muzzi, Elisabetta Lottini, Nader Yaacoub, Davide Peddis, Giovanni Bertoni, César de Julián Fernández, Claudio Sangregorio, Alberto López-Ortega
In this work, we demonstrate that the reduction of the local internal stress by a low-temperature solvent-mediated thermal treatment is an effective post-treatment tool for magnetic hardening of chemically synthesized nanoparticles. As a case study, we used nonstoichiometric cobalt ferrite particles of an average size of 32(8) nm synthesized by thermal decomposition, which were further subjected to solvent-mediated annealing at variable temperatures between 150 and 320 °C in an inert atmosphere. The postsynthesis treatment produces a 50% increase of the coercive field, without affecting neither the remanence ratio nor the spontaneous magnetization. As a consequence, the energy product and the magnetic energy storage capability, key features for applications as permanent magnets and magnetic hyperthermia, can be increased by ca. 70%. A deep structural, morphological, chemical, and magnetic characterization reveals that the mechanism governing the coercive field improvement is the reduction of the concomitant internal stresses induced by the low-temperature annealing postsynthesis treatment. Furthermore, we show that the medium where the mild annealing process occurs is essential to control the final properties of the nanoparticles because the classical annealing procedure (T > 350 °C) performed on a dried powder does not allow the release of the lattice stress, leading to the reduction of the initial coercive field. The strategy here proposed, therefore, constitutes a method to improve the magnetic properties of nanoparticles, which can be particularly appealing for those materials, as is the case of cobalt ferrite, currently investigated as building blocks for the development of rare-earth free permanent magnets.

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