Macrofluidic Coaxial Flow Platforms to Produce Tunable Magnetite Nanoparticles: A Study of the Effect of Reaction Conditions and Biomineralisation Protein Mms6

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2019 Dec 4;9(12):1729. doi: 10.3390/nano9121729.


Magnetite nanoparticles' applicability is growing extensively. However, simple, environmentally-friendly, tunable synthesis of monodispersed iron-oxide nanoparticles is challenging. Continuous flow microfluidic synthesis is promising; however, the microscale results in small yields and clogging. Here we present two simple macrofluidics devices (cast and machined) for precision magnetite nanoparticle synthesis utilizing formation at the interface by diffusion between two laminar flows, removing aforementioned issues. Ferric to total iron was varied between 0.2 (20:80 Fe3+:Fe2+) and 0.7 (70:30 Fe3+:Fe2+). X-ray diffraction shows magnetite in fractions from 0.2-0.6, with iron-oxide impurities in 0.7, 0.2 and 0.3 samples and magnetic susceptibility increases with increasing ferric content to 0.6, in agreement with each other and batch synthesis. Remarkably, size is tuned (between 20.5 nm to 6.5 nm) simply by increasing ferric ions ratio. Previous research shows biomineralisation protein Mms6 directs magnetite synthesis and controls size, but until now has not been attempted in flow. Here we report Mms6 increases magnetism, but no difference in particle size is seen, showing flow reduced the influence of Mms6. The study demonstrates a versatile yet simple platform for the synthesis of a vast range of tunable nanoparticles and ideal to study reaction intermediates and additive effects throughout synthesis.

Keywords: Mms6; flow synthesis; fluidic; magnetic nanoparticle; magnetite.