Anisotropy counts: A brief review of the main physical properties of elongated magnetic particles (EMPs) is presented. The most important characteristic of an EMP is the additional contribution of shape anisotropy to the total anisotropy energy of the particle, when compared to spherical magnetic particles. The electron micrograph shows Ni-ferrite microrods fabricated by the authors.
We present an overview of the main physical properties of elongated magnetic particles (EMPs), including some of their more relevant properties in suspension. When compared to a spherical magnetic particle, the most important characteristic of an EMP is an additional contribution of shape anisotropy to the total anisotropy energy of the particle. Increasing aspect ratios also lead to an increase in both the critical single-domain size of a magnetic particle and its resistance to thermally activated spontaneous reversal of the magnetization. For single-domain EMPs, magnetization reversal occurs primarily by one of two modes, coherent rotation or curling, the latter being facilitated by larger aspect ratios. When EMPs are used to prepare colloidal suspensions, other physical properties come into play, such as their anisotropic friction coefficient and the consequent enhanced torque they experience in a shear flow, their tendency to align in the direction of an external field, to form less dense sediments and to entangle into more intricate aggregates. From a more practical point of view, EMPs are discussed in connection with two interesting types of magnetic colloids: magnetorheological fluids and suspensions for magnetic hyperthermia. Advances reported in the literature regarding the use of EMPs in these two systems are included. In the final section, we present a summary of the most relevant methods documented in the literature for the fabrication of EMPs, together with a list of the most common ferromagnetic materials that have been synthesized in the form of EMPs.