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Co-precipitation is considered as the easiest method to prepare magnetic nanoparticles (like Fe3O4 or Fe2O3). In principle, salts of ferrous and ferric iron are dissolved in water and precipitated with alkali.
Fe2+ +2 Fe3+ +8OH? ? Fe3O4 +4H2O
The particle physical and chemical properties depend strongly on the nature of the iron salt (chlorides, sulfates, and nitrates), the ferric to ferrous ions ratio, the reaction temperature, the pH value, the ionic strength of the media, etc. Apparently, having a reasonable control over the long listed influential parameters is not a trivial task and thus the reproducibility and robustness of this method is controversial.56, 66 In the same way, the particles synthesized by this method show a relatively poor crystallinity and imperfect spin ordering on the surface. These phenomena lead to a lower MS value (30-80 emu/g) compared to the one reported for bulk iron oxide (80-100 emu/g) in literature.67-68 In addition, the synthesized particles through this method show a large polydispersity distribution, leading to a broad range of magnetic properties (like blocking temperatures) which eventually hinders their usage for some applications. This feature limits the feasibility of using particles for instance in homogeneous bioassays where size monodispersity is highly required.69-70

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