Self-assembled FePt nanoparticle arrays are candidate structures for ultrahigh density magnetic storage media. One of the factors limiting their application to this technology is particle-to-particle compositional variation. In the present study, an analysis is provided for the formation mechanism of FePt nanoparticles synthesized from the thermal decomposition of Fe(CO)5 and the reduction of FeCl2 by superhydride. In both processes, Pt rich seeds initially form from the reduction of Pt acetylacetonate. The particle formation mechanism has been studied by extracting particles at different stages of the synthesis and individually determining particle-to-particle composition by STEM-XEDS. In the case Fe(CO)5, the Fe is gradually incorporated into the Pt seeds and produces a wide variation in compositional distribution about the mean value. In contrast, the FeCl2 has a nearly instantaneous shift in composition to the average value with the introduction of the superhydride reducing agent. The discrepancies in compositional uniformity between the two processes will be discussed in terms of the intrinsic differences between the different precursors.
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