Ferrofluids (FFs) of metal oxide nanoparticles in ionic liquids (ILs) are a potentially useful class of magnetic materials for many applications because of their properties related to temperature/pressure stability, hydrophobicity, viscosity and recyclability. In this work, the screening of several designer surfactants for their stabilizing capabilities has resulted in the synthesis of stable FFs of superparamagnetic 7 ± 2 nm magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles in the hydrophobic IL 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide ([CRMIM][NTf2]). The designed and synthesized 1-butyl-3-(10-carboxydecyl)-1H-imidazol-3-ium bromide (ILC10-COOH) surfactant that combines the same imidazole moiety as the IL with a long alkyl chain ensured compatibility with the IL and increased the steric repulsion between the magnetite nanoparticles sufficiently such that stable dispersions of up to 50 wt% magnetite were obtained according to stability tests in the presence of a magnetic field (0.5–1 Tesla). Cryo-transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) of the IL-based FFs allowed direct visualization of the surfactant-stabilized nanoparticles in the ILs and the native, hardly aggregated state of their dispersion.
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Materials and Interface Chemistry
Facility/equipment: Research lab