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J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2011 Mar;11(3):1958-67.

Enhanced bio-compatibility of ferrofluids of self-assembled superparamagnetic iron oxide-silica core-shell nanoparticles.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin 682022, India.


Self-assembled magnetic colloidal suspensions are sought after by material scientists owing to its huge application potential. The biomedical applications of colloidal nanoparticles necessitate that they are biocompatible, non-interacting, monodispersed and hence the synthesis of such nanostructures has great relevance in the realm of nanoscience. Silica-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles based ferrofluids were prepared using polyethylene glycol as carrier fluid by employing a controlled co-precipitation technique followed by a modified sol-gel synthesis. A plausible mechanism for the formation of stable suspension of SiO2-coated Iron Oxide nanoparticles with a size of about 9 nm dispersed in polyethylene glycol (PEG) is proposed. Core-shell nature of the resultant SiO2-Iron Oxide nanocomposite was verified using transmission electron microscopy. Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy studies were carried out to understand the structure and nature of chemical bonds. The result suggests that Iron Oxide exist in an isolated state inside silica matrix. Moreover, the presence of silanol bonds establishes the hydrophilic nature of silica shell confirming the formation of stable ferrofluid with PEG as carrier fluid. The magnetic characterization reveals the superparamagnetic behavior of the nanoparticles with a rather narrow distribution of blocking temperatures. These properties are not seen in ferrofluids prepared from Iron Oxide nanoparticles without SiO2 coating. The latter suggests the successful tuning of the inter-particle interactions preventing agglomeration of nanoparticles. Cytotoxicity studies on citric acid coated water based ferrofluid and silica-coated PEG-based ferrofluid were evaluated by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazole-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium chloride assay and it shows an enhanced compatibility for silica modified nanoparticles.

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