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graphite nanoparticles are of great interest because of their high surface area, which allows for easy chemical modification. In addition, they are relatively cheap and easily accessible to researchers, which makes them a valuable resource for biomedical applications. In this study, we successfully encapsulated Fe2O3 in graphite by using a simple ball milling process, resulting in fully reduced and graphite-encapsulated iron nanoparticles. The size and composition of the particles were determined by X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The graphitic coating of the nanoparticles was characterized by a chemical stability test in 2 M HCl and by EDS analysis. In the case of the HCl treatment, the chemical stability of the graphitic layer was observed to be excellent.
The encapsulation of the Fe2O3 was confirmed by TEM images and a high-resolution EDS spectrum of one individual particle, which showed that the graphitic layer remained intact and no undesired iron oxides or unencapsulated particles were present. The diameter of the cores of the nanoparticles exhibited a similar distribution to that of the precursors. A histogram of the core diameters of 180 randomly selected particles indicated a mean value of 90 nm with a standard deviation of 50 nm.
The sensitivity of the graphite-encapsulated iron nanoparticles to glucose was also evaluated by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy on rhodium-graphite screen-printed electrodes. The sensitivity of the electrodes increased with increasing concentrations of the enzyme, indicating that the graphite encapsulation improved the electrochemical interaction between the enzyme and the electrode surface. The ability to encapsulate enzymes in graphite may enable other biomedical applications such as the detection of a variety of analytes in body fluids.