New product from old reaction: uniform magnetite nanoparticles from iron-mediated synthesis of alkali iodides and their protection from leaching in acidic media†
Iron-mediated synthesis of alkali metal iodides was quite unexpectedly demonstrated to be able to serve as a cost-efficient and reliable source of spherical single crystalline near-stoichiometric magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles as revealed by TEM and XRD studies and also by XANES spectroscopic quantification of the Fe2+-content. Using the particles as nuclei for the Stoeber synthesis of silica nanoparticles, core–shell magnetic material has been produced. The nature of the magnetic component was probed by XANES spectroscopy. The size of the particles is dependent on the synthesis conditions and Si : Fe ratio but can be kept below 100 nm. It is the Si : Fe ratio that determines the stability of the particles in acidic medium. The latter was investigated spectrophotometrically as leaching of Fe3+-cations. Considerable stability was observed at Si : Fe > 10, while at Si : Fe ≥ 20 no measurable leaching could be observed in over 10 days. Magnetic nanoparticles with improved stability in acidic medium provide an attractive basis for creation of adsorbent materials for applications in harsh media.