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Tailor-made magnetic nanoparticles

22.07.2010
Magnetic nanoparticles provide a multitude of technical applications like magnetic resonance imaging, hyperthermic treatment of cancer, drug delivery, catalysis, biosensors, semiconductors and information storage. The magnetic properties strongly depend on size and shape, and production of defined and homogeneous particles is essential for their application. Monocrystalline particles can be synthesized chemically, but this route suffers from broad size distributions, low gram quantities or only poorly defined magnetic properties which limit the number of applications.

<p> The limitations of chemical synthesis can be overcome by nanoparticles produced by magnetotactic bacteria. The prototypical Magnetospirillum (M.) gryphiswaldensee exhibits octahedral magnetite (Fe3O4) nanocrystals with a maximal size of 50 nm. Shape and size can be controlled by genetic engineering leading to recombinant magnetic nanoparticles from 20 nm to 150 nm in diameter. Particle sizes in the transition area in between supra- and ferrimagnetism are difficult to achieve chemically or other methods. <p> Based on the unique properties the tailor made nanocrystals produced by bacterial magnetosomes several applications can be developed. In hyperthermal treatments, a high specific energy transfer can be achieved. Likewise, magnetic separation will benefit from the high specific magentization capacity and will improve the process. <p>

Magnetic particles can be produced and adjusted in size. To characterize their magnetic properties, samples may be provided.

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