Dilution effects on combined magnetic and electric dipole interactions: A study of ferromagnetic cobalt nanoparticles with tuneable interactions

M. Hod, A. Dobroserdova, S. Samin, C. Dobbrow, A. M. Schmidt, M. Gottlieb, S. Kantorovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Improved understanding of complex interactions between nanoparticles will facilitate the control over the ensuing self-assembled structures. In this work, we consider the dynamic changes occurring upon dilution in the self-assembly of a system of ferromagnetic cobalt nanoparticles that combine magnetic, electric, and steric interactions. The systems examined here vary in the strength of the magnetic dipole interactions and the amount of point charges per particle. Scattering techniques are employed for the characterization of the self-assembly aggregates, and zeta-potential measurements are employed for the estimation of surface charges. Our experiments show that for particles with relatively small initial number of surface electric dipoles, an increase in particle concentration results in an increase in diffusion coefficients; whereas for particles with relatively high number of surface dipoles, no effect is observed upon concentration changes. We attribute these changes to a shift in the adsorption/desorption equilibrium of the tri-n-octylphosphine oxide (TOPO) molecules on the particle surface. We put forward an explanation, based on the combination of two theoretical models. One predicts that the growing concentration of electric dipoles, stemming from the addition of tri-n-octylphosphine oxide (TOPO) as co-surfactant during particle synthesis, on the surface of the particles results in the overall repulsive interaction. Secondly, using density functional theory, we explain that the observed behaviour of the diffusion coefficient can be treated as a result of the concentration dependent nanoparticle self-assembly: additional repulsion leads to the reduction in self-assembled aggregate size despite the shorter average interparticle distances, and as such provides the growth of the diffusion coefficient.

Original languageEnglish
Article number084901
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 28 Aug 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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