Preparation of Uniform and Size Tunable Iron Oxide Magnetic Nanocrystals
Magnetic iron oxide (IO) nanocrystals are currently being tested for various applications such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent, cell sorting, drug delivery, hyperthermia, gene therapy, etc. Iron oxide nanocrystals hold a promise for various applications because they are maneuverable with remote magnetic fields. In biomedical applications, IO nanocrystals can be coated with various marker molecules to make them selectively adhere to target analytes. The IO can be used to deliver anti-cancer drugs or radioactive materials directly to a specific site such as tumor. These particles can also be designed to attach to cancerous tissue and then heated with a remote alternating magnetic field that selectively kill cancer cells in a process called hyperthermia.
The conventional methods of preparing iron oxide nanocystals are based on the co-precipitation of ferro- and ferric salts in the aqueous phase at room temperature in the presence of stabilizing agents. With the support of the DOD, Ocean NanoTech has embarked on recent developments in the preparation of iron oxide magnetic nanocrystals. It involves the use of organic solvent and high temperature (ca. 300°C) and demonstrates significant improvement in the size tunability, the monodispersity, and the crystalline structure of Ocean’s IO nanocrystals. This method is anticipated to improve the performance of the iron oxide magnetic nanopcrystals for existing applications as well as open avenues of opportunities for new applications.
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