The effects of synthesis method on the physical and chemical properties of dextran coated iron oxide nanoparticles

Anastasia K. Hauser, Ronita Mathias, Kimberly W. Anderson, J. Zach Hilt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Iron oxide nanoparticles coated with dextran were synthesized via four variations on the co-precipitation method. The methods ranged from in situ formation of the nanoparticles within the dextran solution to the adsorption of dextran to the nanoparticle surface following nucleation and extensive washing. The timing of the addition of dextran into the reaction mixture was found to greatly influence the physical and chemical properties of the magnetic nanoparticles. Batches of dextran coated iron oxide nanoparticles were synthesized by each method in triplicate, and the nanoparticles were further crosslinked with epichlorohydrin. The properties of the nanoparticles such as size, percentage of dextran coating, stability in solution, crystallinity, and magnetic properties were evaluated. The simultaneous semi-two-step method injected the reducing agent and the dextran solution into the reaction vessel at the same time. This method resulted in the greatest batch-to-batch reproducibility of nanoparticle properties and the least variation in nanoparticles synthesized in the same batch. The two-step method resulted in the greatest variation of the characteristics examined between batches. The one-step method was synthesized with both five grams and one gram of dextran to investigate the effects of solution viscosity on the resulting nanoparticle characteristics. The one-step method with five grams of dextran resulted in nanoparticles with significantly smaller crystal sizes (5.4 ± 1.9 nm) and lower specific adsorption rate (SAR) values (138.4 ± 13.6 W/g) in an alternating magnetic field (58 kA/m, 292 kHz). However, this method resulted in nanoparticles that were very stable in PBS over 12 h, which is most likely due to the greater dextran coating (60.0 ± 2.7 weight percent). For comparison, the simultaneous semi-two-step method generated nanoparticles 179.2 ± 18.3 nm in diameter (crystal size 12.1 ± 0.2 nm) containing 18.3 ± 1.2 weight percent dextran with a SAR value of 321.1 ± 137.3 W/g.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-186
Number of pages10
JournalMaterials Chemistry and Physics
StatePublished - Jun 15 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • Characterization
  • Co-precipitation
  • Magnetic materials
  • Nanomaterials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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