Particle size control of colloidal mesoporous silica nanoparticles (CMPS) in a very wide range is quite significant for the design of CMPS toward various applications, such as catalysis and drug delivery. Various types of CMPS and their precursors (colloidal mesostructured silica nanoparticles (CMSS)) with different particle sizes (ca. 20–700 nm) were newly prepared from tetraalkoxysilanes with different alkoxy groups (Si(OR)4, R = Me, Et, Pr, and Bu) in the presence of alcohols (R′OH, R′ = Me, Et, Pr, and Bu) as additives. CMSS with larger particle size were obtained by using tetrabutoxysilane (TBOS) and by increasing the amount of BuOH, which is explained by both the difference in the hydrolysis rates of tetraalkoxysilanes themselves and the effect of added alcohols on the hydrolysis rates of tetraalkoxysilanes. Larger amounts of alcohols with longer alkyl chains decrease the hydrolysis rates of tetraalkoxysilanes and the subsequent formation rates of silica species. Thus, the preferential particle growth of CMSS to nucleation occurs, and larger CMSS are formed. Highly dispersed CMPS were prepared by the removal of surfactants of CMSS by dialysis which can lead to the preparation of CMPS without aggregation. Therefore, the particle size control through the tuning of the hydrolysis rate of tetraalkoxysilanes can be conducted by a one-pot and easy approach. Even larger CMPS (ca. 700 nm in size) show relatively high dispersibility. This dispersibility will surely contribute to the design of materials both retaining nanoscale characteristics and avoiding various nanorisks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)