Structural and Mössbauer studies of aerosol FeCu nanoparticles in a wide composition range

E. A. Shafranovsky, Yu I. Petrov, Ll Casas, E. Molins

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Structure and magnetic state of aerosol FeCu nanoparticles of 10-30 nm size with Cu content of 0.6-92.1 at.% have been examined by X-ray diffraction and Mössbauer spectroscopy. The FeCu particles have been shown to consist of an iron core surrounded by a copper and Fe oxide shell. With increasing Cu content the iron core having a bcc structure is reduced down to its complete disappearance followed by vanishing ferromagnetism of the particles. Within the copper content from 4.9 to 74.3 at.% the bcc and fcc phases coexist, with the fcc phase having a lattice constant close to that of pure copper and the bcc lattice constant being slightly higher than that for pure Fe due to embedding Cu atoms into the Fe lattice. At Fe-rich FeCu samples a presence of two-spin (ferromagnetic and paramagnetic) components of the fcc Fe is also observed. In the case of a thin copper shell there is only the ferromagnetic fcc Fe, whereas with further thickening of the shell both spin states of the fcc Fe appear existing up to a 20% Cu content. For FeCu samples with a higher Cu content they disappear due to oxidation of the copper grains. The Cu-rich samples with Cu content higher 80 at.% have a fcc structure, with the lattice constant being slightly higher than that of copper and they are paramagnetic. A slight increase of the lattice constant is due to the penetration of small iron aggregations into the Cu grains. In contact with air, the FeCu particles become covered with Fe3O4 and Cu2O. Their long-term exposure to ambient conditions leads to further oxidation process of Cu2O to CuO. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4913-4928
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Aerosol nanoparticles
  • FeCu
  • Mössbauer spectroscopy
  • Structure
  • X-ray diffraction


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