Rapid synthesis of SiO2 by ultrasonic-assisted Stober method as controlled and pH-sensitive drug delivery

  • Zi-ting Lin
  • Yan-bo Wu
  • Yong-guang BiEmail author
Research Paper


In this paper, the monodisperse silica nanoparticles were prepared by ultrasonic-assisted Stober method, and it explained that the ultrasonic cavitation effect shortened the reaction time from the original hours to f5 min. The effects of ultrasonic time, ultrasonic power, and stirring speed on the morphology, composition, and specific surface area of silica nanoparticles were investigated by field emission electron microscopy (FE-SEM). The results showed that nanoparticles with the best dispersity and the most uniform morphology were obtained under the optimized conditions (ultrasonic time is 5 min, ultrasonic power is 160 W, and the magnetic stirring speed is 999 rpm). The phase composition of SiO2 was characterized by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), nano-size/zeta potential analyzer, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). It showed that all typical peaks of samples are in line with the SiO2 spectrum, the particle size distribution and zeta potential value of the silica is 615 ± 35.6 nm and 59.87 ± 0.91 mv, respectively, which further verified that the spherical silica nanoparticles with good dispersity can be synthesized in a very short time. Hemolysis test showed that nano-SiO2 had high blood compatibility and biocompatibility when its concentration was less than 1 mg/mL. Doxorubicin (DOX·HCl) was regarded as a drug model to investigate the drug loading capacity of synthesized SiO2; the results showed that the drug loading capacity and encapsulation efficiency reached 42.6 ± 1.2 and 85.2 ± 2.5%, respectively. Furthermore, the drug release experiments fitted well with the Higuichi equation with correlation coefficient (R2) of 0.9984, which further confirmed that the SiO2/DOX drug delivery system has the controlled release property, and it also displayed pH-responsive behavior (at 96 h, the cumulative release of SiO2/DOX in PBS solution with pH 7.4, 6.5, and 5.0 was 48.33, 62.31, and 94.86%, respectively). Therefore, this paper provides the possibility for developing more effective, safer, and more targeted controlled drug carriers.


Nano SiO2 Drug delivery Ultrasonic cavitation Biocompatibility Nanoparticles 



This work was financially Supported by the Guangdong Ocean and Fishery Bureau Project (No.A201501C11), Guangdong Provincial Science and Technology Department of the project (No.2016A020210133), Guangdong Provincial Department of Water Resources Project (No.2015-20), and Guangdong Provincial Archives Project (No. YDK-141-2016).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of PharmacyGuangdong Pharmaceutical UniversityGuangzhouChina

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