Silica nanoparticle vesicles (NPVs) with encapsulating capability and surface permeability are highly attractive in nanocatalysis, biosensing, and drug delivery systems. Herein, we report the facile fabrication of silica NPVs composed of a monolayer of silica nanospheres (SNSs, ca. 15 nm in diameter) through the block copolymer-mediated self-assembly of SNSs. The silica NPVs gain different surface topographies, such as raspberry- and brain coral-like topographies, under controlled heat treatment conditions. The vesicular assembly of SNSs is successful with a series of poly(propylene oxide)-poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(propylene oxide) block copolymers, and the size of NPVs can be tuned by changing their molecular weight. The polymer is easily extracted from the NPVs with their colloidal dispersibility and structural integrity intact. The polymer-free silica NPVs further serve as a reaction vessel and host for functional materials such as tin oxide nanoparticles.
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