Widely found in the nature around us, the iron oxide nanoparticles are not just a creation of the curious minds in the laboratories. The predominant nanoparticle in iron oxide called Ferrihydrite has its habitat in the abiotic conditions. This is because the low surface energy it needs.
It is the incorporation of iron nanoparticles found in a protein through Protein Ferritin that makes iron storage possible in living organisms. It is an essential function that needs to be carried out within the living being.
Iron oxides are of 16 types where its minerals are a result of certain aqueous reactions. Some important oxides being lepidocrocite, magnetite, hematite and goethite. It is the varying redox and pH conditions that determine the types where Fe, O and OH being the basic composition.
Talking about the iron oxide nanoparticles, their diameters can range from 1 to 100 nanometer. These nanoparticles can be easily found in magnetic data storage, biosensing, etc. What give iron oxide nanoparticles their high binding capacity are its ability to significantly enhance its surface area to volume ratio.
Various Applications and Reactivity Model
Iron oxide nanoparticles play an essential role in vivid applications despite the fact that these particles still stand unexplained at the fundamental level when it comes to their reactivity models and their structure. Imaging iron oxide nanoparticles is not an easy task due to its immensely small size and its asymmetrical structure.
It is undeniable that the size of the nanoparticles helps decide the properties of these nanoparticles. It is also dependent on the surrounding environment that helps determine its chemical properties.
Iron oxide nanoparticles can only be imaged through crystallographic techniques.
To generate a valid reactivity model, computational studies of iron oxide nanoparticles have been undertaken. The reactivity models were focused on absorption of phosphate and arsenate by the ferritin core and the ferrihydrite which is modelled with properties such as surface reactive groups’ density such as O(H) and surface charge calculated as per the function of the size.
Reaction Study and its results
To study how iron oxide nanoparticles react, an experimental study was carried out that showcased its effects and reactions in different environments. The study focused on how the phosphate anions were absorbed with the ferrihydrite. Along with this the study also focused on how phosphate concentration was analysed.
The study shows formation of nanoparticles in the ferritin and development of an anion absorption model. The surface reactivity and new formation and aggregation of these nanoparticles are undertaken to be studied under different conditions as per their environmental application.
Studies have shown that the absorption feature of Ferritin resembles Ferrihydrite and they are popularly known for being stable and insoluble. Since they are nanoparticles and have exceptionally low surface, they emit free energy. It was the double layer theory (spherical) that suggested how downscaling these particles to clusters has helped understand their behavior in synthetic systems.