Arredondo, Melissa Gayle
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Low-dimensional magnetic systems are of interest due to several new effects and modifications that occur at sizes below the average domain grain boundary within the bulk material. Molecule-like magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles, with sizes ranging from one to two nm were synthesized and characterized in order to investigate new properties arising from quantum size effects. These small systems will provide opportunities to investigate magnetism of zero-dimension systems. A zero-dimensional object is usually called a quantum dot or artificial atom because its electronic states are few and sharply separated in energy, resembling those within an atom. Since the surface to volume ratio is the highest for zero-dimensional systems, most of the changes to magnetic behavior will be observed in ultra-fine magnetic particles. Chemically functional magnetic nanoparticles, comprised of a Fe3O4 magnetite core encased in a thin aliphatic carboxylate, have been prepared by sequential high temperature decomposition of organometallic compounds in a coordinating solvent. In this work, aliphatic carboxylic acid chain length, reaction temperature and duration were varied to produce small core diameters. In order to correlate size effects with changes in particle formation, it is important to have a through understanding of the structural components. This includes studies of the core size, surface effects, decomposition, electronic properties and magnetic behavior. Quantum size effects were observed in the (Fe3O4)X(carboxylate)Y monolayer protected clusters (MPCs) when the average core diameter was ≤ 2.0 nm, evidenced by a blue shifted absorbance band maxima, suggesting the onset of quantum confinement. These (Fe3O4)X(carboxylate)Y MPCs also posses a complex interplay between surface and finite size effects, which govern the magnetic properties of these zero-dimensional systems. These MPCs are all superparamagnetic above their blocking temperatures with total magnetic anisotropy values greater than the bulk value due to an increase in surface and magnetocrystalline anisotropy. A non-linear decrease in saturation magnetization (MS) [Bohr Magneton] per cluster) as a function of the reciprocal of core radius have been attributed to surface effects such as a magnetically inactive layer or an increase in spin disorder as core diameter decreases. The reduced core dimensions of these MPCs make them ideal candidates for further investigation of quantum magnetic systems.