A pure aqueous route to mesoporous silica thin films via dip-coating of prefabricated hybrid micelles
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Mesoporous thin films were prepared by dip-coating with a purely aqueous method, as a substitute for the alcohol-based evaporation-induced self-assembly route. Unlike other aqueous routes that require a very slow pulling rate possible only using high performance dip-coaters, as a result of the high surface tension of water, this new process works with standard dip-coaters and at similar pulling rates as are used for the evaporation-induced self-assembly route. This unique asset is the result of the synthesis of prefabricated self-assembled silicate/organic hybrid micelles. These building blocks are concentrated before use, which provides a gelling edge after moderate evaporation. As a result, defect-free continuous mesoporous films with well-organized hexagonally packed pores were prepared after optimization of both the evaporation rate of the solution of hybrid micelles and the dip-coater pulling rate.
The transmission electron microscopy observation reveals the hexagonally packed structure of mesoporous silica film. This nanostructure has already been observed on films prepared with the evaporation-induced self-assembly process, but it is the first time it is obtained with a pure aqueous method, based on prefabricated hybrid micelles, not on controlled evaporation of mesophases. Open image in new window
KeywordsThin film Evaporation-induced self-assembly Mesoporous Ellipsoporosimetry Dip-coating Silica
EP thanks NSERC (Discovery Grant 342859-2011) for funding support of this work.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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