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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2014, Article ID 178524, 8 pages
Research Article

Arc-Discharge Synthesis of Iron Encapsulated in Carbon Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications

1FEMAN Group, IN2UB, Departament de Física Aplicada i Òptica, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès 1, E08028 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
2Institut für Textilchemie und Textilphysik, Universität Innsbruck, Höchsterstraß 73, 6850 Dornbirn, Austria

Received 24 January 2014; Revised 22 June 2014; Accepted 23 June 2014; Published 13 July 2014

Academic Editor: Ajay Soni

Copyright © 2014 S. Chaitoglou et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The objective of the present work is to improve the protection against the oxidation that usually appears in core@shell nanoparticles. Spherical iron nanoparticles coated with a carbon shell were obtained by a modified arc-discharge reactor, which permits controlling the diameter of the iron core and the carbon shell of the particles. Oxidized iron nanoparticles involve a loss of the magnetic characteristics and also changes in the chemical properties. Our nanoparticles show superparamagnetic behavior and high magnetic saturation owing to the high purity α-Fe of core and to the high core sealing, provided by the carbon shell. A liquid iron precursor was injected in the plasma spot dragged by an inert gas flow. A fixed arc-discharge current of 40 A was used to secure a stable discharge, and several samples were produced at different conditions. Transmission electron microscopy indicated an iron core diameter between 5 and 9 nm. Selected area electron diffraction provided evidences of a highly crystalline and dense iron core. The magnetic properties were studied up to 5 K temperature using a superconducting quantum interference device. The results reveal a superparamagnetic behaviour, a narrow size distribution (), and an average diameter of 6 nm for nanoparticles having a blocking temperature near 40 K.