Chemically designed growth of monodisperse iron oxide nanocrystals

We describe here a chemically controlled pathway for the designed synthesis of iron oxide nanoparticles by thermal decomposition of iron(II) and iron(III) oxalates in high-boiling solvents in the presence of oleylamine and oleic acid acting as capping ligands. The phase composition of the nanocrystals (Fe, FeO, Fe3O4, or α-Fe2O3) could be precisely controlled by adjusting the synthesis conditions or by addition of appropriate oxidants, such as trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), which produced highly monodisperse iron(III) oxide particles in the range of 6-25 nm in good yields. The decomposition behavior of different precursor/TMAO mixtures was elucidated by differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetry, and resulting particles were characterized by comprehensive HR-TEM and XRD analyses.