Synthesis and self-assembly of polymer-coated ferromagnetic nanoparticles

Pei Yuin Keng, Inbo Shim, Bryan D. Korth, Jack F. Douglas, Jeffrey Pyun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


We describe the synthesis and characterization of polymer-coated ferromagnetic cobalt nanoparticles (CoNPs). The synthesis of end-functionalized polystyrene surfactants possessing amine, carboxylic acid, or phosphine oxide end-groups was accomplished using atom-transfer radical polymerization. This versatile synthetic method enabled the production of multigram quantities of these polymeric surfactants that stabilized ferromagnetic CoNPs when dispersed in organic media. An in-depth investigation into the synthesis of polystyrene-coated ferromagnetic CoNPs was also conducted using various combinations of these polymeric surfactants in the thermolysis of dicobaltoctacarbonyl (Co2(CO) 8). Moreover, the application of a dual-stage thermolysis with Co2 (CO) 8 allowed for the preparation of large samples (200-820 mg) per batch of well-defined and dispersable ferromagnetic nanoparticles. Characterization of these functionalized nanoparticle materials was then done using transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, vibrating sample magnetometry, and thermogravimetric analysis. Self-assembly of these dipolar nanoparticles was investigated in solutions cast onto supporting substrates, where local nematic-like ordering of nanoparticle chains was observed along with a tendency of adjacent chains to form "zippering" configurations, both phenomena having been predicted by recent simulations of dipolar fluids in conjunction with van der Waals interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-292
Number of pages14
JournalACS Nano
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007


  • Equilibrium polymerization
  • Magnetic nanocomposites
  • Magnetic nanoparticles
  • Nanoparticle assembly
  • Particle characterization
  • Particle synthesis
  • Polymer stabilization
  • Ring formation
  • Self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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