Inverse core-shell nanoparticles, comprised of an antiferromagnetic (AFM) core covered by a ferromagnetic (FM) or ferrimagnetic (FiM) shell, are of current interest due to their different potential application and due to the tunability of their magnetic properties. The antiferromagnetic nature of NiO and high Néel temperature (523 K) makes this material well suited for inverse core-shell nanoparticle applications. Our primary objective in this project has been to synthesize and characterize inverted core-shell nanoparticles (CSNs) comprised of a NiO (AFM) core and a shell consisting of a NixCo1-xO (FiM) compound. The synthesis of the CSNs was made using a two-step process. The NiO nanoparticles were synthesized using a chemical reaction method. Subsequently, the NiO nanoparticles were used to grow the NiO@NixCo1-xO CSNs using our hydrothermal nano-phase epitaxy method. XRD structural characterization shows that the NiO@NixCo1-xO CSNs have the rock salt cubic crystal structure. SEM-EDS data indicates the presence of Co in the CSNs. Magnetic measurements show that the CSNs exhibit AFM/FiM characteristics with a small coercivity field of 30 Oe at 5 K. The field cooled vs zero field cooled hysteresis loop measurements show a magnetization axis shift which is attributed to the exchange bias effect between the AFM NiO core and an FiM NixCo1-xO shell of the CSNs. Our ab initio based calculations of the NixCo1-xO rock salt structure confirm a weak FiM character and a charge transfer insulator property of the compound.


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

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This work was supported in part by the Missouri State University Graduate College. S.H. and R.A.M. acknowledge partial support from the MSU Atwood Award. The Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) was used for this work, which is supported by the National Science Foundation grant number ACI-1053575.




magnetic properties, insulators, magnetic ordering, ferromagnetic materials, chemical elements, X-ray diffraction, epitaxy, transition metals, magnetic materials, nanoparticles

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AIP Advances

159915321344-supp.pdf (264 kB)
Supplementary material for DOS-pDOS plots and a table of calculated atomic magnetic moments.