• ferrite;
  • ferrofluids;
  • ionic conductivity;
  • ionic liquids;
  • nanocrystals


A series of MxFe3−xO4 (M=Fe, Co, Ni, Zn; 0≤x≤1) ferrite nanocrystals stabilized by ionic-liquid molecules have been successfully synthesized through a thermal decomposition route. Instead of the widely used long-chain lipid surfactants and high-boiling solvents, the ionic-liquid molecules not only played the role of surfactants, but also served as reaction and dispersion media simultaneously in the preparation of ferrite nanocrystals. Due to their good fluidity under magnetic fields and high ionic conductivity, the ionic-liquid molecules and MxFe3−xO4 ferrite nanocrystal-based conducting ferrofluids were successfully used as electrolytes in an AC circuit. The open or closed state of the circuit was directly controlled by moving a permanent magnet so as to tune the position of the ferrofluids, and consequently, resulted in the “off” or “on” state of the four indicative yellow-light-emitting diodes. These results demonstrate that the conducting ferrofluids successfully play the role of “magnetic switch”.