Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name



Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Gavin Lawes


Magnetic nanoparticles have a number of unique properties, making them promising agents for applications in medicine including magnetically targeted drug delivery, magnetic hyperthermia, magnetic resonance imaging, and radiation therapy. They are biocompatible and can also be coated with biocompatible surfactants, which may be further functionalized with optically and therapeutically active molecules. These nanoparticles can be manipulated with non-invasive external magnetic field to produce heat, target specific site, and monitor their distribution in vivo. Within this framework, we have investigated a number of biomedical applications of these nanoparticles. We synthesized a thermosensitive microgel with iron oxide adsorbed on its surface. An alternating magnetic field applied to these nanocomposites heated the system and triggered the release of an anticancer drug mitoxantrone . We also parameterized the chain length dependence of drug release from dextran coated iron oxide nanoparticles, finding that both the release rate and equilibrium release fraction depend on the molecular mass of the surfactant. Finally, we also localized dextran coated iron oxide nanoparticles labeled with tat peptide to the cell nucleus, which permits this system to be used for a variety of biomedical applications.

Beyond investigating magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical applications, we also studied their magnetohydrodynamic and dielectric properties in solution. Magnetohydrodynamic properties of ferrofluid can be controlled by appropriate selection of surfactant and deielctric measurement showed magnetodielectric coupling in this system. We also established that some complex low temperature spin structures are suppressed in Mn3O4 nanoparticles, which has important implications for nanomagnetic devices. Furthermore, we explored exchange bias effects in Ni-NiO core-shell nanoparticles. Finally, we also performed extensive magnetic studies in nickel metalhydride (NiMH) batteries to determine the size of Ni clusters, which plays important role on catalyzing the electrochemical reaction and powering Ni-MH batteries.

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