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Physico-Chemical and Financial Comparisons of One-Step Iron Oxide Nanocrystal Syntheses for Nanoparticle Fabrication

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Magnetic nanoparticles containing iron oxide are key technologies for molecular and cellular MRI, magnetic drug delivery, magnetic cell sorting and targeted thermal therapy. Size, coating, cost of production, and many other attributes of encased magnetite crystals dictate the quality of the particles. In this paper we compare two, one-step procedures for producing magnetite nanocrystals. Nanocrystals were synthesized and then encapsulated in poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) to form magnetic nanoparticles. Multiple analytical methodologies were used to determine nanocrystal size, encapsulation efficiency by PLGA, total particle size and production cost. In the first method, iron oxide nanocrystals were synthesized using thermal decomposition of iron salts in the presence of 1,2-hexadecanediol, oleic acid and oleylamine. Nanocrystals were 6 nm in diameter and were encapsulated into PLGA with high efficiency without further modification, but were costly due to the procedure's starting material. The second method, involving thermal decomposition of salts solely in the presence of decanoic acid, produced 6, 10, and 20 nm diameter crystals, depending on the ratio of the decanoic acid to iron salt. Further, this method is ∼23 times less expensive. Following an incubation step in oleic acid, encapsulation of iron oxide nanocrystals produced using the decanoic acid method was equal to that of the first method with equal overall nanoparticle size. Despite the popularity of the first method, these analyses suggest that the second method is better suited to large scale production of iron oxide nanocrystals for embedding in hydrophobic polymers.
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Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: July 1, 2014

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  • Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters (NNL) is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal consolidating nanoscale research activities in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine into a single and unique reference source. NNL provides the means for scientists, engineers, medical experts and technocrats to publish original short research articles as communications/letters of important new scientific and technological findings, encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of the physical sciences, engineering and medicine.
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