Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Hariharan Srikanth

Co-Major Professor

Manh-Huong Phan


Composite, Ferrites, Magnetism, Microwaves, Nanoparticles


Multifunctional polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) are attractive for the design of tunable RF and microwave components such as flexible electronics, attenuators, and antennas due to cost-effectiveness and durability of polymeric matrices. In this work, three separate PNCs were synthesized. Magnetite (Fe3O4) and cobalt ferrite (CFO) nanoparticles, synthesized by thermal decomposition, were used as PNC fillers. Polymers used in this work were a commercial polymer provided by the Rogers Corporation (RP) and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). PNCs in this thesis consist of Fe3O4 in RP, CFO in RP, and Fe3O4 in PVDF. Characterization techniques for determining morphology of the nanoparticles, and their resulting PNCs, include x-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy and magnetometry.

All magnetometry measurements were taken using a Quantum Design Physical Property Measurement System with a superconducting magnet. Temperature and external magnetic field magnetization measurements revealed that all samples exhibit superparamagnetic behavior at room temperature. Blocking temperature, coercivity and reduced remnant magnetization do not vary with concentration. Tunable saturation magnetization, based on nanoparticle loading, was observed across all PNCs, regardless of polymer or nanoparticle choice, indicating that this is an inherent property in all similar PNC materials.

Tunability studies of the magneto-dielectric PNCs were carried out by adding the PNC to cavity and microstrip linear resonator devices, and passing frequencies of 1-6 GHz through them in the presence of transverse external magnetic fields of up to 4.5 kOe, provided by an electromagnet. Microwave characteristics were extracted from scattering parameters of the PNCs. In all cases, losses were reduced, quality factor was increased, and tunability of the resonance frequency was demonstrated. Strong magnetic field dependence was observed across all samples measured in this study.