Doping Independent Work Function and Stable Band Gap of Spinel Ferrites with Tunable Plasmonic and Magnetic Properties

Nikhil Bhalla*, Shilpa Taneja, Preeti Thakur, Preetam Kumar Sharma, Davide Mariotti, Chiranjeevi Maddi, Oxana Ivanova, Dmitry Petrov, Alexander Sukhachev, Irina S. Edelman*, and Atul Thakur*// NANO LETTERS//

Tuning optical or magnetic properties of nanoparticles, by addition of impurities, for specific applications is usually achieved at the cost of band gap and work function reduction. Additionally, conventional strategies to develop nanoparticles with a large band gap also encounter problems of phase separation and poor crystallinity at high alloying degree. Addressing the aforementioned trade-offs, here we report Ni–Zn nanoferrites with energy band gap (Eg) of ≈3.20 eV and a work function of ≈5.88 eV. While changes in the magnetoplasmonic properties of the Ni–Zn ferrite were successfully achieved with the incorporation of bismuth ions at different concentrations, there was no alteration of the band gap and work function in the developed Ni–Zn ferrite. This suggests that with the addition of minute impurities to ferrites, independent of their changes in the band gap and work function, one can tune their magnetic and optical properties, which is desired in a wide range of applications such as nanobiosensing, nanoparticle based catalysis, and renewable energy generation using nanotechnology.