Nonlinear optical and magnetic properties of BiFeO3 harmonic nanoparticles
Second Harmonic Generation (SHG) from BiFeO3 nanocrystals is investigated for the first time to determine their potential as biomarkers for multiphoton imaging. Nanocrystals are produced by an auto-combustion method with 2-amino-2-hydroxymethyl-propane-1,3-diol as a fuel. Stable colloidal suspensions with mean particle diameters in the range 100–120 nm are then obtained after wet-milling and sonication steps. SHG properties are determined using two complementary experimental techniques, Hyper Rayleigh Scattering and nonlinear polarization microscopy. BiFeO3 shows a very high second harmonic efficiency with an averaged hdi coefficient of 79612 pm/V. From the nonlinear polarization response of individual nanocrystals, relative values of the independent dij coefficients are also determined and compared with recent theoretical and experimental studies. Additionally, the particles show a moderate magnetic response, which is attributed to gamma-Fe2O3 impurities. A combination of high nonlinear optical efficiency and magnetic response within the same particle is of great interest for future bio-imaging and diagnostic applications.