Designed synthesis and surface engineering strategies of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles for biomedical applications
Iron oxide nanoparticles (NPs) hold great promise for future biomedical applications because of their magnetic properties as well as other intrinsic properties such as low toxicity, colloidal stability, and surface engineering capability. Numerous related studies on iron oxide NPs have been conducted. Recent progress in nanochemistry has enabled fine control over the size, crystallinity, uniformity, and surface properties of iron oxide NPs. This review examines various synthetic approaches and surface engineering strategies for preparing naked and functional iron oxide NPs with different physicochemical properties. Growing interest in designed and surface-engineered iron oxide NPs with multifunctionalities was explored in in vitro/in vivo biomedical applications, focusing on their combined roles in bioseparation, as a biosensor, targeted-drug delivery, MR contrast agents, and magnetic fluid hyperthermia. This review outlines the limitations of extant surface engineering strategies and several developing strategies that may overcome these limitations. This study also details the promising future directions of this active research field.