Our lab has been interested in magnetic nanomaterials and addressing the challenges of controlling the synthesis of size and shape controlled materials and the effect of these on properties. The two primary directions are the development of MRI contrast agents, and solid- state devices with coupled electronic, magnetic and optical properties.
Our approach is to use molecular and cluster precursors to control target compositions. Syntheses span solid-state reactions, Stober-type silica synthesis, miniemulsion polymer nanobeads, and semiconductor nanoparticle synthesis. Typical characterization tools include: X-ray powder diffraction (new Ultima IV), magnetization measurements (QD SQUID), TEM (several high resolution instruments at the University of Maryland Nano Center), and neutron scattering experiments (National Institute for Standards and Technology). There are opportunities for XAS, Mossbauer, and Magnetic Circular Dichroism.