Oil-Water Interface Templating of Mesoporous Macroscale Structures

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Science  09 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5276, pp. 768-771
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5276.768


Ordered mesostructured porous silicas that are also macroscopically structured were created by control of the interface on two different length scales simultaneously. Micellar arrays controlled the nanometer-scale assembly, and at the static boundary between an aqueous phase and an organic phase, control was achieved on the micrometer to centimeter scale. Acid-prepared mesostructures of silica were made with the p6, Pm3n, and the P63/mmc structures in the form of porous fibers 50 to 1000 micrometers in length, hollow spheres with diameters of 1 to 100 micrometers, and thin sheets up to 10 centimeters in diameter and about 10 to 500 micrometers in thickness. These results might have implications for technical applications, such as slow drug-release systems or membranes, and in biomineralization, where many processes are also interface-controlled.