Catalyst supports, drug delivery systems, hosts for nanoparticles, and solar cells are just some examples of the wide range of exciting applications for mesoporous silica. In order to optimize the performance of a specific application, controlling the material’s morphology and pore size is crucial. For example, short and separated particles are beneficial for drug delivery systems, while for molecular sieves, the pore size is the key parameter.
In this thesis, mesoporous silica building blocks, crystallites, with hexagonally ordered cylindrical pores were synthesized, with the aim to understand how the synthesis parameters affect the particle morphology and pore size. The synthesis of the particles is performed using a sol-gel process, and in order to increase the pore size, a combination of low temperature, and additions of heptane and NH4F was used. By variations in the amounts of reagents, as well as other synthesis conditions, the particle morphology and pore size could be altered. Separated particles were also grown on or attached to substrates to form films. Also, a material with spherical pore structure was synthesized, for the first time using this method.
It was found that a variation in the heptane concentration, in combination with a long stirring time, yields a transition between fiber and sheet morphologies. Both morphologies consist of crystallites, which for the fibers are joined end to end, while for the sheets they are attached side by side such that the pores are accessible from the sheet surface. The crystallites can be separated to a rod morphology by decreasing the stirring time and tuning the HCl concentration, and it was seen that these rods are formed within 5 min of static time, even though the pore size and unit cell parameters were evolving for another 30 min. Further studies of the effects of heptane showed that the shape and mesoscopic parameters of the rods are affected by the heptane concentration, up to a value where the micelles are fully saturated with heptane. It was also observed that the particle width increases with decreasing NH4F concentration, independent of heptane amount, and a platelet morphology can be formed. The formation time of the particles decrease with decreasing NH4F, and the growth mechanism for platelets was further studied. The pore sizes for various morphologies were altered by e.g. variations in the hydrothermal treatment conditions, or the method for removing the surfactants.
The separated particles can be attached to substrates, either during the particle synthesis or by post grafting prior to calcination. The film formation during the one-pot-synthesis was studied and a formation mechanism including nucleation of elongated micelles on the substrate was suggested. During the post grafting film synthesis, the medium in which the particles are dispersed, as well as functionalization of both particle and substrate are crucial for the post grafting process. The pores are easily accessible independent of the method, even though they are aligned parallel to the substrate when the one-pot-method is used, while post grafting gives a perpendicular pore orientation.
In summary, this work aims to give an understanding for the formation of the synthesized material, and how to tune the material properties by alterations in parameter space. Successful syntheses of four different particle morphologies and two new types of films were performed, and the pore size could easily be tuned by various methods.
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. , 82 p.
2013-11-15, Visionen, Hus B, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Odén, Magnus, MagnusSöderlind, Fredik, Dr.Córdoba, José, Dr.