To design magnetic NPs for specific applications, one must be able to characterise atomic structure, surface structure, and magnetic structure or spin dynamics. With EU support of the project NANOMAG (Magnetic nanoparticles and thin films for spintronic applications and high performance permanent magnets), scientists targeted the development of magnetic nano-structured materials for applications in permanent magnets, spintronics and biomedicine. The consortium of six prominent European universities and research institutes together with one Korean and three American laboratories established a research network in magnetic nano-structured materials with focus on rare earth and transition metal oxides in bulk and thin films. Scientists fabricated a number of novel hard rare earth intermetallic NPs for use in permanent magnets via an innovative synthesis technique and then carried out structural characterisation. Following that, researchers produced nanowires and thin films and analysed their structural properties. Work was then geared towards synthesis and characterisation of 14 molecular organic-based magnets (MOMs). Two MOMs were selected for thin film preparation. Further, functionalised MOMs were deposited on transition metal oxide thin films using a combination of established techniques to achieve monolayer fabrication. Finally, magnetic nanofluids were synthesised and characterised to determine suitability for use in biomedical therapy and imaging. One target was magnetic hyperthermia, an experimental technique exploiting heat generated by magnetic NPs to kill cancer cells. The materials demonstrated high specific absorption favouring efficiency. Project work led to successful fabrication and testing of prototype spintronic devices by combining deposition and self-assembly of monolayers of molecular magnet complexes. NANOMAG laid the foundations for further developmental work that is expected to lead to the development of more nanomagnetic prototype devices. The research network also laid the foundations for international cooperation that should benefit all concerned.
Magnetic nanoparticles, spintronics, permanent magnets, biomedicine, NANOMAG