Tubules-Within-a-Tubule Hierarchical Order of Mesoporous Molecular Sieves in MCM-41

Science  09 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5276, pp. 765-768
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5276.765


The recently discovered mesoporous aluminosilicate MCM-41 consists of hexagonal arrays of nanometer-sized cylindrical pores. It is shown that this material can be synthesized by cooperative condensation of silicate and cylindrical cationic micelles. Careful control of the surfactant-water content and the rate of condensation of silica at high alkalinity resulted in hollow tubules 0.3 to 3 micrometers in diameter. The wall of the tubules consisted of coaxial cylindrical pores, nanometers in size, that are characteristic of those of MCM-41. The formation of this higher order structure may take place through a liquid crystal phase transformation mechanism involving an anisotropic membrane-to-tubule phase change. The hierarchical organization of this “tubules-within-a-tubule” particle texture is similar to that of the frustules of marine diatoms.