Magnetic properties of acicular Fe1-xREx (RE = Nd, Sm, Eu, Tb; x=0, 0.05, 0.10) metallic nanoparticles
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Acicular monodispersed Fe1-xREx (RE= Nd, Sm,Eu,Tb;x=0, 0.05, 0.10) metallic nanoparticles (60 +/- 5 nm in length and axial ratio similar to6) obtained by reduction of alumina-coated goethite nanoparticles-containing rare earth (RE) under hydrogen flow are reported. Alumina and maghemite thin layers on particle surface were used to protect the goethite particles against sintering and oxidation, respectively. Al and RE additions were obtained by successive heterocoagulation reactions. Aluminum sulfate (10 at.% based on Fe) was dissolved in water and the pH adjusted to 12.5 with NaOH solution. Goethite particles were suspended in this solution and CO2 gas was blown into the slurry to neutralize it to a pH 8.5 or less. Particles were purified and dehydrated to effect transformation to alumina-coated hematite nanoparticles, which were re-suspended in aqueous solution in which RE sulfate (0-0.15 at.% based on Fe) has been dissolved, and the pH increased by ammonia aqueous solution addition. Resulted alumina-coated RE-doped hematite nanoparticles were reduced to metal at 450 degreesC/12 h under hydrogen flow and passivated with nitrogen-containing ethanol vapor at room temperature. Acicular monodispersed metallic nanoparticle systems were obtained and the presence of Al and RE were confirmed by induced-coupled plasma spectrometry analysis. X-ray diffraction, Mossbauer spectroscopy, and magnetization data are in agreement with the nanosized alpha-Fe core in a bcc structure, having a spinel structure, gammaFe(2)O(3), with thickness similar to1.5 run on particle surface. Main magnetic parameters showed saturation magnetization decreases and significant increasing in the coercive field with the RE composition increases. Magnetic properties of these particles, similar to40% smaller than those commercially available, suggest a decrease in the bit-size for high-density magnetic or magneto-optics recording media application. (C) 2004 Published by Elsevier B.V.