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First-principles study of dissociation processes for the synthesis of Fe and Co oxide nanoparticles
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Thermal decomposition is a practical and reliable tool to synthesize nanoparticles with monodisperse size distribution and reproducible accuracy. The nature of the precursor molecules and their interaction with the environment during the synthesis process have a direct impact on the resulting nanoparticles. Our study focuses on widely used transition-metal (Co, Fe) stearates precursors and their thermal decomposition reaction pathway. We show how the nature of the metal and the presence or absence of water molecules, directly related to the humidity conditions during the synthesis process, affect the decomposition mechanism and the resulting transition-metal oxide building blocks. This, in turn, has a direct effect on the physical and chemical properties of the produced nanoparticles and deeply influences their composition and morphology.