Synthesis of silica-coated aqueous ferrofluids through ligand exchange with a new organosilica precursor.
A new method for the production of aqueous dispersions of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles with applications in biomedicine is reported. The method is based on the use of a triethoxisilyl dodecanoic acid ligand that has been specially synthesized for this purpose. The nanoparticles were grown in organic medium using oleic acid as surfactant. Subsequently, oleic acid was exchanged for the alkoxysilane ligand, then hydrolysis was performed in a hydrocarbon solvent, and the nanoparticles were transferred into water. The organic and aqueous ferrofluids have been characterized and their magnetic properties have been determined. The resulting maghemite/silica nanoparticles were single core, and stable in aqueous suspension.