Opportunities and Challenges for Nanoparticle Synthesis using Continuous Flow Systems: A Magnetite Nanocluster Case Study

In this study, we demonstrate a new high temperature flow synthesis system for magnetite nanoparticle clusters. We find that successful synthesis of nanoparticle clusters is dependent on residence time in the reaction chamber and linear flow speed. The long reaction times and elevated temperatures required, combined with the resulting slurry formed with successful magnetite nanocluster synthesis, made this reaction challenging to adapt to a flow system. However, proper design of a continuous flow synthesis platform and synthesis parameter control allows for the adoption of even difficult solvothermal synthesis processes. We discuss the importance of reaction pressure control and reaction duration for successful synthesis of magnetite nanoclusters and address opportunities and challenges associated with adopting solvothermal synthesis to continuous flow synthesis platforms.