This study describes the synthesis of monodispersed core–shell composites of silica-modified magnetic nanoparticles and conducting polyaniline by self-assembly and graft polymerization. Magnetic ferrite nanoparticles (Fe3O4) were prepared by coprecipitation of Fe+2 and Fe+3 ions in alkaline solution, and then silananized. The silanation of magnetic particles (Fe3O4@SiO2) was carried out using 3-bromopropyltrichlorosilane (BPTS) as the coupling agent. FT-IR spectra indicated the presence of Fe—O—Si chemical bonds in Fe3O4@SiO2. Core–shell type nanocomposites (Fe3O4@SiO2/PANI) were prepared by grafting polyaniline (PANI) on the surface of silanized magnetic particles through surface initiated in-situ chemical oxidative graft polymerization. The nanocomposites were characterized by high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectra (XPS), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra, UV-visible spectroscopy, photoluminescence (PL) spectra, electrical conductivity and magnetic characteristics. HRTEM images of the nanocomposites revealed that the silica-modified magnetic particles made up the core while PANI made up the shell. The XPS spectrum revealed the presence of silica in the composites, and the XRD results showed that the composites were more crystalline than pure PANI. PL spectra show that composites exhibit photoluminescent property. Conductivity of the composites (6.2 to 9.4 × 10−2 S/cm) was higher than that of pristine PANI (3.7 × 10−3 S/cm). The nanocomposites exhibited superparamagnetism. Formation mechanism of the core–shell structured nanocomposites and the effect of modified magnetic nanoparticles on the electro-magnetic properties of the Fe3O4@SiO2/PANI nanocomposites are also investigated. This method provides a new strategy for the generation of multi-functional nanocomposites that composed of other conducting polymers and metal nanoparticles.
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