A new organic-inorganic hybrid was generated by self-assembly of nanosized polymer hydrogels (nanogels) and Fe3O4 nanoparticles (NPs) for potential biomedical applications. By using the tetrahydrofuran (THF) injection method, hydrophobized Fe3O4 NPs were complexed through hydrophobic interactions with amphiphilic polysaccharide nanogels. The obtained hybrid showed high colloidal stability and dispersibility in aqueous media. The number of Fe3O4 NP aggregates was controlled by changing the concentration of the Fe3O4 NPs in THF. The hybrid displayed greater enhancement than existing contrast media in T2 magnetic resonance imaging because of the optimal agglomeration of Fe3O4 NPs following their complexation with nanogels. Furthermore, the hybrid generated heat in response to alternating magnetic-field irradiation. The increase in temperature was controlled by adjusting the concentration of the hybrid and the amplitude of the magnetic field, which indicates that the hybrid is also suitable for magnetic hyperthermia therapy.
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