Manipulating dispersions of magnetic nanoparticles

Xubo Liu, Ye Tian, Lei Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Dispersions of magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) can exhibit paramagnetic ferrofluid or ferromagnetic liquid behavior. By modifying the surface functionality of MNPs, ferrofluids have been used to fabricate novel magnetically actuated devices. If the surface-functionalized MNPs interact with complementary ligands at a fluid-fluid interface, MNP surfactants form and in situ assemble at the interface. When jammed interfacially, MNP surfactants give rise to ferromagnetic behavior of the liquid (droplet), which is endowed with permanent magnetic dipoles while maintaining all of the characteristics of a fluid system. Here, we give a brief overview of the developments in the dispersion of MNPs in liquids from ferrofluids to ferromagnetic liquid droplets, their responses to external fields, and the manipulation of these responses for end uses. The reversible room-temperature para-to-ferro transformation of magnetic liquids is highlighted. We discuss challenges in the synthesis and characterization of these unusual liquids along with potential technological applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2699-2708
Number of pages10
JournalNano Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • ferromagnetic liquid droplets
  • magnetic dipolar interactions
  • Magnetic nanoparticles
  • paramagnetic ferrofluids
  • self-assembly

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