Iron oxide nanoparticles are widely used as contrast agent for MRI and may be used as therapeutic agent by magnetic hyperthermia if they display a high magnetic anisotropy. Considering the effect of the nanoparticles shape on anisotropy, the reproducible shape control of nanoparticles is currently a challenge of synthesis methods. By investigating reaction parameters which are the iron precursor structure, the water content and the amount of the surfactant, sodium oleate, reported to trigger the cubic shape, iron oxide nanoparticles with different shape and composition were observed to form. In particular, iron oxide nanoplates have been thus synthesized. The effect of the surfactant coming from precursor was taking into account by using in house iron stearates bearing either two or three stearate chains and the negative effect of water on shape was confirmed by considering these precursors after their dehydration. Nanocubes with straight faces and a [email protected]
composition were obtained only with dehydrated precursors and 50% of sodium oleate in the oleic acid and sodium oleate surfactant mixtures. When iron stearates with three chains led mainly to nanocubes in presence of soduim oleate, Iron stearates with two chains led to the formation of nanoplates with 80% of sodium oleate. The original flat shape of the plates was confirmed with 3D TEM tomography. The investigation of the synthesis mechanisms confirmed the major role of deprotonated carboxylic acid and of the heating rate to drive the cubic shape of nanoparticles and showed that the nanoplate formation would depend mainly on the nucleation step and possibly on the presence of a given ratio of oleic acid and deprotonated carboxylic acid.