This paper highlights the relation between the shape of iron oxide (Fe3O4) particles and their magnetic sensing ability. We synthesized Fe3O4 nanocubes and nanospheres having tunable sizes via solvothermal and thermal decomposition synthesis reactions, respectively, to obtain samples in which the volumes and body diagonals/diameters were equivalent. Vibrating sample magnetometry (VSM) data showed that the saturation magnetization (Ms) and coercivity of 100–225 nm cubic magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) were, respectively, 1.4–3.0 and 1.1–8.4 times those of spherical MNPs on a same-volume and same-body diagonal/diameter basis. The Curie temperature for the cubic Fe3O4 MNPs for each size was also higher than that of the corresponding spherical MNPs; furthermore, the cubic Fe3O4 MNPs were more crystalline than the corresponding spherical MNPs. For applications relying on both higher contact area and enhanced magnetic properties, higher-Ms Fe3O4 nanocubes offer distinct advantages over Fe3O4 nanospheres of the same-volume or same-body diagonal/diameter. We evaluated the sensing potential of our synthesized MNPs using giant magnetoresistive (GMR) sensing and force-induced remnant magnetization spectroscopy (FIRMS). Preliminary data obtained by GMR sensing confirmed that the nanocubes exhibited a distinct sensitivity advantage over the nanospheres. Similarly, FIRMS data showed that when subjected to the same force at the same initial concentration, a greater number of nanocubes remained bound to the sensor surface because of higher surface contact area. Because greater binding and higher Ms translate to stronger signal and better analytical sensitivity, nanocubes are an attractive alternative to nanospheres in sensing applications.
Kolhatkar, Arati G., et al. “Magnetic Sensing Potential of Fe3O4 Nanocubes Exceeds That of Fe3O4 Nanospheres.” ACS Omega, vol. 2, no. 11, American Chemical Society, Nov. 2017, pp. 8010–19, doi:10.1021/acsomega.7b01312.