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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Fluorescence probing investigation of the mechanism of formation of MSU-type mesoporous silica prepared in fluoride medium.

The mechanism of formation of a MSU-type siliceous material from tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) in the presence of the nonionic surfactant tergitol T-15-S-12, sulfuric acid, and sodium fluoride has been investigated using mainly fluorescence probing techniques and, to a lesser extent, dynamic light scattering (DLS) and 29Si NMR spectroscopy. The tergitol micelles present in the systems obtained by progressively generating the reaction mixture giving rise to the mesostructured material by adding to an appropriate tergitol solution sulfuric acid, TEOS, and NaF were characterized by fluorescence probing (micelle aggregation number, micropolarity, and microviscosity) and also by dynamic light scattering (apparent micelle diameter). 29Si NMR experiments were also performed on selected systems after hydrolysis of the TEOS. The fluorescence probing techniques were also used to follow the changes of micelle characteristics with time during the evolution of the full reaction mixture from a limpid solution to a system containing a minor amount of condensed siliceous material. The synthesized solid material was characterized by X-ray diffraction and nitrogen adsorption-desorption analyses. The micelle aggregation number N was found to change only little, and the micropolarity remained constant when going from the tergitol solution to the full reaction mixture. The results of DLS measurements agree with this finding. Besides, while the condensation of silica took place after addition of NaF, the N value increased only very little with time up to the point where a small amount of mesostructured material precipitated out. These results indicate that the interaction between tergitol micelles and the siliceous species formed in the system by the hydrolysis of TEOS and also between micelles and the growing siliceous species must be very weak. As in our previous studies of the mechanism of formation of MCM41-type material from sodium silicate in the presence of cetyltrimethylammonium bromide, it appears that the locus of formation of the mesostructured material is not the micelle surface but the bulk phase. Micelles only act as reservoirs of surfactant providing surfactant monomer that binds to the growing siliceous species.[1]


  1. Fluorescence probing investigation of the mechanism of formation of MSU-type mesoporous silica prepared in fluoride medium. Lesaint, C., Lebeau, B., Marichal, C., Patarin, J., Zana, R. Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids. (2005) [Pubmed]
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