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Nanotechnology. 2010 Apr 23;21(16):165701. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/21/16/165701. Epub 2010 Mar 26.

Coupling between magnetic and optical properties of stable Au-Fe solid solution nanoparticles.

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INSTM RU at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Firenze, via della Lastruccia 3, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy.


Au-Fe nanoparticles constitute one of the simplest prototypes of a multifunctional nanomaterial that can exhibit both magnetic and optical (plasmonic) properties. This solid solution, not feasible in the bulk phase diagram in thermal equilibrium, can be formed as a nanostructure by out-of-equilibrium processes. Here, the novel magnetic, optical and magneto-optical properties of ion-implanted Au-Fe solid solution nanoparticles dispersed in a SiO(2) matrix are investigated and correlated. The surface plasmon resonance of the Au-Fe nanoparticles with almost equicomposition is strongly damped when compared to pure Au and to Au-rich Au-Fe nanoparticles. In all cases, the Au atoms are magnetically polarized, as measured by x-ray magnetic circular dichroism, and ferromagnetically coupled with Fe atoms. Although the chemical stability of Au-Fe nanoparticles is larger than that of Fe nanoparticles, both the magnetic moment per Fe atom and the order temperature are smaller. These results suggest that electronic and magnetic properties are more influenced by the hybridization of the electronic bands in the Au-Fe solid solution than by size effects. On the other hand, the magneto-optical transitions allowed in the vis-nIR spectral regions are very similar. In addition, we also observe, after studying the properties of thermally treated samples, that the Au-Fe alloy is stabilized, not by surface effects, but by the combination of the out-of-equilibrium nature of the ion implantation technique and by changes in the properties due to size effects.

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