Schmitz-Antoniak, C.; Schmitz, D.; Warland, A.; Svechkina, N.; Salamon, S.; Piamonteze, C.; Wende, H.: Reversed ageing of Fe3O4 nanoparticles by hydrogen plasma. Scientific Reports 6 (2016), p. 20897/1-6
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Magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles suffer from severe ageing effects when exposed to air even when they are dispersed in a solvent limiting their applications. In this work, we show that this ageing can be fully reversed by a hydrogen plasma treatment. By x-ray absorption spectroscopy and its associated magnetic circular dichroism, the electronic structure and magnetic properties were studied before and after the plasma treatment and compared to results of freshly prepared magnetite nanoparticles. While aged magnetite nanoparticles exhibit a more γ-Fe2O3 like behaviour, the hydrogen plasma yields pure Fe3O4 nanoparticles. Monitoring the temperature dependence of the intra-atomic spin dipole contribution to the dichroic spectra gives evidence that the structural, electronic and magnetic properties of plasma treated magnetite nanoparticles can outperform the ones of the freshly prepared batch.