This study examines the suspension stability of iron oxide nanoparticles of different sizes, magnetic susceptibility, and saturation magnetization over long time scales in dilute systems using time-resolved UV–visible spectroscopy. The effects of citric acid as a chelating agent and applied external magnetic field are also studied. UV–visible spectra are obtained at different times for citric-acid-stabilized nanoparticles dispersed in water, and the peak absorbance is tracked with time, in the presence and absence of external magnetic fields. It is seen that the nanoparticles sediment slowly even in the absence of chain formation, with the phenomenon occurring in two-to-three regimes for the systems studied. Sedimentation exhibits either exponential or power-law behavior of maximum absorbance with time. In the dilute dispersions studied, thermal dispersion is about two orders of magnitude stronger than van der Waals interactions, and chain formation is not easy. Yet, it is likely that local anisotropic structures of the nanoparticles form, through which the attractive interactions result in sedimentation. Citric acid gradually stabilizes the aggregating particles; after an initial faster sedimentation, electrostatic repulsion causes the particles to segregate, as observed by a linear increase in the concentration of the nanoparticles at long times. In the presence of magnetic field, stabilization effects are significantly reduced. It is seen that though the attractive force between the nanoparticles and the external field is smaller than Brownian forces, together with van der Waals interactions, these attractive forces likely act as directing agents facilitating sedimentation. This study demonstrates that aggregation-induced sedimentation of magnetic nanoparticles is likely to play a significant role in magnetic drug targeting even when the particles are stabilized with chelating agents.
S. Vikram, Vasanthakumari, R., Tsuzuki, T., and Rangarajan, M., “Investigations of suspension stability of iron oxide nanoparticles using time-resolved UV–visible spectroscopy”, Journal of Nanoparticle Research, vol. 18, p. 272, 2016.