Formation of hybrid nano-crystals in organic–inorganic films from a basic sol
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Organic–inorganic films containing hybrid nanocrystals have been prepared by sol–gel processing in controlled conditions. We have systematically changed the temperature and the aging time of a precursor sol containing an organically modified alkoxide bearing an epoxy group, 3-glycidoxypropyltrimethoxysilane, to obtain a controlled crystallization of hybrid layered structures in hybrid films. The precursor sol has been aged at different temperatures, from 5 to 60 °C, and for 1, 2 or 3 days; the films have been deposited from the aged sol and immediately after characterized by X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. We have observed that the formation of the hybrid crystals can be obtained only when at least 50% of the epoxies are opened and a larger silica condensation is achieved. These conditions are reached after aging at 60 °C for 1 day, or at longer aging times when the sol is aged at lower temperatures. Transmission electron microscopy and optical polarized images have confirmed the formation of the hybrid crystals.