A transmission electron microscopy study of CoFe2O4 ferrite nanoparticles in silica aerogel matrix using HREM and STEM imaging and EDX spectroscopy and EELS

Andrea Falqui, Anna Corrias, Peng Wang, Etienne Snoeck, Gavin Mountjoy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Magnetic nanocomposite materials consisting of 5 and 10 wt% CoFe 2O4 nanoparticles in a silica aerogel matrix have been synthesized by the sol-gel method. For the CoFe2O4-10wt% sample, bright-field scanning transmission electron microscopy (BF STEM) and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HREM) images showed distinct, rounded CoFe2O4 nanoparticles, with typical diameters of roughly 8 nm. For the CoFe2O4-5wt% sample, BF STEM images and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) measurements showed CoFe2O4 nanoparticles with diameters of roughly 3 ± 1 nm. EDX measurements indicate that all nanoparticles consist of stoichiometric CoFe2O4, and electron energy-loss spectroscopy measurements from lines crossing nanoparticles in the CoFe2O4-10wt% sample show a uniform composition within nanoparticles, with a precision of at best than ± 0.5 nm in analysis position. BF STEM images obtained for the CoFe2O 4-10wt% sample showed many "needle-like" nanostructures that typically have a length of ∼ 10 nm and a width of ∼ 1 nm, and frequently appear to be attached to nanoparticles. These needle-like nanostructures are observed to contain layers with interlayer spacing 0.33 ± 0.1 nm, which could be consistent with Co silicate hydroxide, a known precursor phase in these nanocomposite materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-209
Number of pages10
JournalMicroscopy and Microanalysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2010


  • CoFeO
  • EDX
  • EELS
  • Ferrite
  • HREM
  • Nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation


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