Ferrite-based nanoparticles, namely, bismuth ferrite (BiFeO3) and calcium ferrite (CaFe4O7), have been synthesized via sol-gel and chemically dissolved method, respectively, employing hematite (α-Fe2O3) as the Fe3+ ion source. Firstly, α-Fe2O3 nanoparticles were prepared from natural iron sand containing mostly magnetite (Fe3O4) phase through coprecipitation technique continued by sintering process at 800°C for 2 h. Higher BiFeO3 phase content was achieved after Bi-Fe gel being annealed at 650°C for 1 h in air atmosphere. Furthermore, major phase of CaFe4O7 was formed with molar ratio of Fe3+/Ca2+ = 6 and sintering temperature of 800°C for 3 h. Interestingly, the powders with dominant CaFe4O7 phase, known as calcium biferrite, exhibit higher ferromagnetism at room temperature. The magnetic properties of the calcium biferrite are comparable to those of barium hexaferrite which can be applied for radar-absorbing material. Meanwhile, BiFeO3 powders also show weak room temperature ferromagnetism. It has also demonstrated that Ni doping in the bismuth ferrite (BiFe1−xNixO3 with x = 0.1) nanoparticles results in enhancement of the magnetic properties. Moreover, a ferroelectric hysteresis loop and a trend of frequency dependence of the dielectric constant have been observed, which were enhanced by Pb doping (Bi1−yPbyFeO3 with y = 0.1). These results suggest a multiferroic behavior in the BiFeO3 nanoparticles.
Part of the book: Nanocrystalline Materials