Issue 34, 2016

Tuning the structure and habit of iron oxide mesocrystals


A precise control over the meso- and microstructure of ordered and aligned nanoparticle assemblies, i.e., mesocrystals, is essential in the quest for exploiting the collective material properties for potential applications. In this work, we produced evaporation-induced self-assembled mesocrystals with different mesostructures and crystal habits based on iron oxide nanocubes by varying the nanocube size and shape and by applying magnetic fields. A full 3D characterization of the mesocrystals was performed using image analysis, high-resolution scanning electron microscopy and Grazing Incidence Small Angle X-ray Scattering (GISAXS). This enabled the structural determination of e.g. multi-domain mesocrystals with complex crystal habits and the quantification of interparticle distances with sub-nm precision. Mesocrystals of small nanocubes (l = 8.6–12.6 nm) are isostructural with a body centred tetragonal (bct) lattice whereas assemblies of the largest nanocubes in this study (l = 13.6 nm) additionally form a simple cubic (sc) lattice. The mesocrystal habit can be tuned from a square, hexagonal to star-like and pillar shapes depending on the particle size and shape and the strength of the applied magnetic field. Finally, we outline a qualitative phase diagram of the evaporation-induced self-assembled superparamagnetic iron oxide nanocube mesocrystals based on nanocube edge length and magnetic field strength.

Graphical abstract: Tuning the structure and habit of iron oxide mesocrystals

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
10 May 2016
09 Jul 2016
First published
11 Jul 2016
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Nanoscale, 2016,8, 15571-15580

Author version available

Tuning the structure and habit of iron oxide mesocrystals

E. Wetterskog, A. Klapper, S. Disch, E. Josten, R. P. Hermann, U. Rücker, T. Brückel, L. Bergström and G. Salazar-Alvarez, Nanoscale, 2016, 8, 15571 DOI: 10.1039/C6NR03776C

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