Project Summary:

Multifunctional materials combining distinct physical properties in one unique entity are of interest in fundamental research studying physical interactions and technological and biomedical potential. Magnetic nanoparticles have attracted great interest due to their capacity to cause localized hyperthermia for cancer treatment. At the same time, nanoparticles covered in a shell of noble metals possess intriguing properties from the spatial confinement of surface plasmons – localized surface plasmon resonances, making these materials attractive as sensors and for photothermal therapy, so-called magnetoplasmonics (ferrimagnet-plasmonic, Fig. 1). 

Diagram of a structure of a plasmon Description automatically generated

Fig. 1 Schematic sketch of magnetoplasmonic CS NP. Made by D. Zákutná.

Despite the fundamental interest and technological relevance, achieving homogeneous coverage of core nanoparticles and controlling coupling strength within the core-shell (CS) interface remains a crucial challenge. To unveil the core-shell coupling effects and properly correlate the resulting macroscopic response of the multiphase CS nanoparticles (NPs), the chemical and magnetic interface of CSNPs must be disentangled and spatially resolved at the nm-length scale. This project aims to do just that! By using the unique neutron large-scale facilities and advanced polarized neutron scattering techniques[1-4], this project will contribute significantly to the understanding of the CS interface and spin structure close to the interface. Within ChIMeRa, the investigation of how the coupling between CoFe2O4/MnFe2O4 (hard/soft magnet) and Ag/Au (linear/nonlinear response) works, and correlation of the macroscopic performances with core size, shape, and shell thickness variations will be done. 

ChIMeRa aims to address the following questions:

  • How is the shell growing on the magnetic cores?
  • What is the nature of the CS interface at the nm-length scale, is it sharp or diffusive?
  • How does the coupling between magneto-optical and plasmonic properties function?
  • How do the core size, shape, and shell thickness modify the macroscopic performance of multifunctional nanoparticles?

Furthermore, the project is under review by the scientific board at the world-leading neutron facility – Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL), Grenoble, France, and in case of success, the STARS Ph.D. position will be further financially supported by ILL and will be organized as a cotutelle Ph.D. between ILL and CUNI. Dr. Zákutná will locally supervise the Ph.D. candidate and will be integrated into the ILL Large Scale Structures group under the supervision of Dr. N.-J. Steinke. 

[1] D. Zákutná et al. Phys. Rev. X 10, 031019 (2020). [2] D. Zákutná et al. J. Appl. Crystallogr. 55, 1622-1630 (2022). [3] M Gerina et al. Nanoscale Advances 5 (17), 4563-4570 (2023). [4] D. Zákutná et al. Chem. Mater. 35 (6), 2302-2311 (2023).

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