Superparamagnetic Au-Fe₃O₄ Nanoparticles: One-Pot Synthesis, Biofunctionalization and Toxicity Evaluation


Superparamagnetic Au-Fe3O4 bifunctional nanoparticles have been synthesized using a single step hot-injection precipitation method. The synthesis involved using Fe(CO)5 as iron precursor and HAuCl4 as gold precursor in the presence of oleylamine and oleic acid. Oleylamine helps in reducing Au3+ to Au0 seeds which simultaneously oxidizes Fe(0) to form Au-Fe3O4 bifunctional nanoparticles. Triton® X-100 was employed as a highly viscous solvent to prevent agglomeration of Fe3O4 nanoparticles. Detailed characterization of these nanoparticles was performed by using x-ray powder diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, scanning tunneling electron microscopy, UV-visible spectroscopy, Mössbauer and magnetometry studies. To evaluate these nanoparticles' applicability in biomedical applications, L-cysteine was attached to the Au-Fe3O4 nanoparticles and cytotoxicity of Au-Fe3O4 nanoparticles was tested using CHO cells by employing MTS assay. L-cysteine modified Au-Fe3O4 nanoparticles were qualitatively characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy; and quantitatively using acid ninhydrin assay. Investigations reveal that that this approach yields Au-Fe3O4 bifunctional nanoparticles with an average particle size of 80 nm. Mössbauer studies indicated the presence of Fe in Fe3+ in A and B sites (tetrahedral and octahedral, respectively) and Fe2+ in B sites (octahedral). Magnetic measurements also indicated that these nanoparticles were superparamagnetic in nature due to Fe3O4 region. The saturation magnetization for the bifunctional nanoparticles was observed to be ~74 emu g-1, which is significantly higher than the previously reported Fe3O4 nanoparticles. Mössbauer studies indicated that there was no significant Fe(0) impurity that could be responsible for the superparamagnetic nature of these nanoparticles. None of the investigations showed any presence of other impurities such as Fe2O3 and FeOOH. These Au- Fe3O4 bifunctional nanoparticles showed no significant cytotoxicity to the CHO cells up to 48 h even at concentrations of 1mg ml-1 making them suitable for biomedical applications such as local heat generators (hyperthermia) for cancer treatment and drug delivery vehicles.



Second Department

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

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© 2014 Institute of Physics - IOP Publishing, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2014