An original non-hydrolytic sol-gel approach, using 2-ethyl-1,3-hexanediol as reactive solvent, was proposed to synthetize nanostructured magnetite. Iron-oxide nanoparticles were prepared and studied as a function of the precursor-to-solvent ratio. The crystallization degree of nanoparticles was followed by the combined Rietveld and Reference Intensity Ratio method. This procedure has allowed the determination of both amorphous and crystalline content of nanomagnetite, using hematite as suitable internal standard. The results of Rietveld method show that the crystalline content decreases as the precursor-to-solvent is increased, ranging from 67 to 60 wt%. Information on the crystallite size-strain distribution and microstructural evolution of nanocrystals was supplied by line profile analysis of the powder diffraction patterns, employing the Whole Powder Pattern Modeling analysis: the obtained log-normal distribution curves become increasingly narrow and symmetrical, while nanoparticle microstrain increases as the precursor concentration is increased. The dimensional analysis of the Transmission Electron Microscopy images has allowed to obtain the nanoparticle grain-size distribution. Nanoparticle dimensions decreases from 15 to 9 nm increasing the precursor concentration. The comparison between the results of X-ray diffraction and microscopic characterization techniques highlighted the effect of several factors, such as size, shape and microstructure of magnetite nanoparticles, on their functional magnetic response. Magnetic characterizations show that magnetite nanoparticles are not in the superparamagnetic phase even at room temperature, independent of the precursor concentration. On the other hand, the room-temperature saturation magnetization, ranging from 73 to 60 emu/g, is a function of the nanoparticle average size, decreasing as the precursor concentration increases.
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