Structural and magnetic studies in ferrihydrite nanoparticles formed within organic-inorganic hybrid matrices.
We report detailed transmission electron microscopy, high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), and scanning transmission electron microscopy/energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (STEM/EDS) studies on ferrihydrite nanoparticles in an organic-inorganic matrix. The Fourier transform of HRTEM images indicates the existence of six-line ferrihydrite. Combined STEM and EDS studies give further confirmation of the presence of iron in the observed particles and its absence in the matrix. The derived mean particle size and size distribution is 4.7 +/- 0.2 nm with a lognormal deviation of s=0.4 +/- 0.1. These values were used for analysis of magnetic measurements, yielding the determination of the anisotropy constant K-eff=4×10(5) erg/cm(3) and the power relation between the number of iron ions per particle and the number of uncompensated ones p approximate to 1/3. This value indicates that the uncompensated spins are mainly randomly distributed at the surface. According to this model, a shell thickness of about one ferrihydrite unit cell is estimated. (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics.