Fe2O3 and Gd2O3 nanoparticles loaded in mesoporous silica: insights into influence of NPs concentration and silica dimensionality
Fine Fe2O3 and Gd2O3 magnetic nanoparticles (NPs) with sizes 7 nm and 10 nm embedded into mesoporous silica have been prepared using a wet-impregnation method. A comparative study of the reactant concentration along with the hosting matrix symmetry on mesostructuring and the magnetic properties of the nanocomposites have been investigated. Reactants with four different concentrations of Fe3+ and Gd3+ ions and silica matrices with two different kinds of symmetry (hexagonal and cubic) have been utilized for the study. The structural characterization of the samples has been carried out by the N2 adsorption/desorption method, high-energy X-ray diffraction (HE-XRD), TG/DTA, and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). The magnetic properties of the nanocomposites have been examined by means of SQUID magnetometry. It has been found that a range of different magnetic states (diamagnetic, paramagnetic, ferromagnetic, superparamagnetic) can be induced by the feasible tailoring of the particle concentration, the porous matrix symmetry and the composition. Furthermore, the existence of a “critical concentration limit” for embedding the particles within the body of the matrix has been confirmed. Exceeding the limit results in the expulsion of nanoparticles on the outer surface of the mesoporous matrix. Revelation of the relationships between particle concentration, matrix symmetry and magnetic properties of the particular composite reported in this study may facilitate the design and construction of advanced intelligent nanodevices.