Detemplation of soft mesoporous silica nanoparticles with structural preservation

Lidia López Pérez, María J. Ortiz-Iniesta, Zheng Zhang, Iker Agirrezabal-Telleria, Martijn Santes, Hero Jan Heeres, Ignacio Melián-Cabrera*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A mild protocol that allows the template removal of soft un-aged silica nanoparticles was investigated. After oxidizing the organic template by Fenton chemistry, a good structural preservation is only achieved when the material is equilibrated and dried in a low-surface tension solvent. This avoids excessive capillary stress induced by the high surface tension of water, a major component in the Fenton reaction medium. The Fenton reaction should be carried out under mild conditions as well; otherwise the sample deteriorates by extensive hydrolysis, and capillary stress, and the structural ordering diminishes severely. We propose employing 10 ppm Fe concentration at 70 °C for 24 h for the cetyltrimethylammonium bromide template. The proposed protocol involves 2 steps resulting in an overall significantly higher pore volume attributed to the wider pores and limited particle agglomeration, while the calcined counterpart evidences aggregation and loss of the hexagonal ordering. n-BuOH exchange is unnecessary when the mesophase is stabilized by ageing, as the structure resists the water capillary stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4747-4753
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry A
Issue number15
Early online date5 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2013


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