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Accurate iron quantification in colloids and nanocomposites by a simple UV-Vis protocol


The selection and comparative study is reported of calibration curves to quantify iron by a simple UV-Vis protocol based on the formation of iron (III) chloride complexes. The reliability of each calibration curve was evaluated using statistical and analytical parameters. The robustness of each calibration curve using superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) of different sizes and surface functionalization is demonstrated . We have also evaluated the effect of the particle coating and estimated the minimum time to ensure the full oxidation of iron (II) to (III) in sample solutions. Results from UV-Vis are comparable with those obtained from ICP-OES and from other spectroscopic techniques to quantify the iron. We advocate the proposed protocol as a simple and non-expensive route to determine accurately the iron content in colloidal and nanocomposite iron-based materials.

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The authors thank the Ph.D. students Soledad Roig and Yajie Zhang for helping in the sample fabrication and characterization. The authors would also like to thank Dr Judith Oró from the TEM service at ICMAB.


This research received funding from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities through the PCIN-2017-090 and RTI2018-096273-B-I00, projects and financial support through the Severo Ochoa Programme for Centers of Excelence in R&D (SEV-2015-0496). The Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport funded the FPU Fellow of M.T. (FPU16/05452). The Argentine National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) is acknowledged for funding G.A.P. fellowship. Generalitat of Catalunya is acknowledged for the project 2017SGR765. A.R. is grateful for the financial support of Grifols SA with the 2017 Albus Award.

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Correspondence to Carlos Moya.

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Torras, M., Moya, C., Pasquevich, G.A. et al. Accurate iron quantification in colloids and nanocomposites by a simple UV-Vis protocol. Microchim Acta 187, 488 (2020).

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  • Iron quantification
  • Iron oxide nanoparticles
  • Iron (III) chloride complexes
  • Ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy
  • Inductively coupled plasma optical emission