Nano Research

Article Title

A wrinkle to sub-100 nm yolk/shell Fe3O4@SiO2 nanoparticles


nanostructures, silica self-template, selective acidic etching, yolk/shell


ABSTRACT Yolk/shell nanoparticles (NPs), which integrate functional cores (likes Fe3O4) and an inert SiO2 shell, are very important for applications in fields such as biomedicine and catalysis. An acidic medium is an excellent etchant to achieve hollow SiO2 but harmful to most functional cores. Reported here is a method for preparing sub-100 nm yolk/shell Fe3O4@SiO2 NPs by a mild acidic etching strategy. Our results demonstrate that establishment of a dissolution–diffusion equilibrium of silica is essential for achieving yolk/shell Fe3O4@SiO2 NPs. A uniform increase in the silica compactness from the inside to the outside and an appropriate pH value of the etchant are the main factors controlling the thickness and cavity of the SiO2 shell. Under our “standard etching code”, the acid-sensitive Fe3O4 core can be perfectly preserved and the SiO2 shell can be selectively etched away. The mechanism of regulation of SiO2 etching and acidic etching was investigated.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press