Precise Size Control of the Growth of Fe<inf>3</inf>O<inf>4</inf> Nanocubes over a Wide Size Range Using a Rationally Designed One-Pot Synthesis

Javier Muro-Cruces, Alejandro G. Roca, Alberto López-Ortega, Elvira Fantechi, Daniel Del-Pozo-Bueno, Sònia Estradé, Francesca Peiró, Borja Sepúlveda, Francesco Pineider, Claudio Sangregorio, Josep Nogues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

29 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 American Chemical Society. The physicochemical properties of spinel oxide magnetic nanoparticles depend critically on both their size and shape. In particular, spinel oxide nanocrystals with cubic morphology have shown superior properties in comparison to their spherical counterparts in a variety of fields, like, for example, biomedicine. Therefore, having an accurate control over the nanoparticle shape and size, while preserving the crystallinity, becomes crucial for many applications. However, despite the increasing interest in spinel oxide nanocubes there are relatively few studies on this morphology due to the difficulty to synthesize perfectly defined cubic nanostructures, especially below 20 nm. Here we present a rationally designed synthesis pathway based on the thermal decomposition of iron(III) acetylacetonate to obtain high quality nanocubes over a wide range of sizes. This pathway enables the synthesis of monodisperse Fe3O4 nanocubes with edge length in the 9-80 nm range, with excellent cubic morphology and high crystallinity by only minor adjustments in the synthesis parameters. The accurate size control provides evidence that even 1-2 nm size variations can be critical in determining the functional properties, for example, for improved nuclear magnetic resonance T2 contrast or enhanced magnetic hyperthermia. The rationale behind the changes introduced in the synthesis procedure (e.g., the use of three solvents or adding Na-oleate) is carefully discussed. The versatility of this synthesis route is demonstrated by expanding its capability to grow other spinel oxides such as Co-ferrites, Mn-ferrites, and Mn3O4 of different sizes. The simplicity and adaptability of this synthesis scheme may ease the development of complex oxide nanocubes for a wide variety of applications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Nano
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • anisometric nanoparticles
  • iron oxides
  • magnetic hyperthermia
  • magnetic nanoparticles
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • nanocubes
  • nanoparticles synthesis


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