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Magnetite (Fe3O4)/polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) core–shell composite nanoparticles were successfully synthesized using a coprecipitation of ferrous and ferric chloride followed by coating with PVA. The resulting nanoparticles were characterized using X-ray diffraction, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, X-ray photo electron spectroscopy, Zeta potential measurements, UV–Vis spectroscopy, Thermogravimetric Analysis, and Vibrating Sample
Magnetometry (VSM). The average particle size was 13 nm. The presence of characteristic functional groups of PVA around the core of magnetite nanoparticles was confirmed by FTIR spectroscopy while the amount of PVA (%) bound to it was estimated by TGA analysis. Zeta potential measurements made by dispersing dilute sonicated samples in a Phosphate Buffer Saline (PBS pH 7.4) confirmed that the particles were negatively charged. The stability and retention of the coating
material PVA in PBS (pH7.4) over a period of time were substantiated by UV–Vis spectroscopy. Room-temperature magnetic measurements were made with a VSM which demonstrated the superparamagnetic nature of the particles with higher saturation magnetization of 56.41 emu/g. Furthermore, in vitro cytocompatibility testing of Fe3O4/PVA core–shell composite nanoparticles was carried out on human cervix cancer cells. This confirmed a 97% cell viability with no significant cytotoxicity and thereby substantiated their biocompatibility.