Bridging exchange bias effect in NiO and Ni(core)@NiO(shell) nanoparticles.
Among all hi-magnetic core(transition metal)@shell(transition metal oxide) nanoparticles (NPs), Ni@NiO ones show an onset temperature for the exchange bias (EB) effect far below the Neel temperature of bulk antiferromagnetic NiO. In this framework, the role played by the magnetism of NiO at the nanoscale is investigated by comparing the microstructure and magnetic properties of NiO and Ni@NiO NPs. With the aim of bridging the two systems, the diameter of the NiO NPs (similar to 4 nm) is chosen to be comparable to the shell thickness of Ni@NiO ones (similar to 2 nm). The EB effect in Ni@NiO NPs is attributed to the exchange coupling between the core and the shell, with an interfacial exchange energy of Delta E similar to 0.06 erg cm(-2), thus comparable to previous reports on Ni/NiO interfaces both in thin film and NP morphologies. In contrast, the EB detected in NiO NPs is explained in a picture where uncompensated spins located on a magnetically disordered surface shell are exchange coupled to the antiferromagnetic core. In all the studied NPs, the variation of the EB field as a function of temperature is described according to a negative exponential law with a similar decay constant, yielding a vanishing EB effect around T similar to 40-50 K. In addition, the onset temperature for the EB effect in both NiO and Ni@NiO NPs seems to follow a universal dependence with the NiO crystallite size. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.