Synthesis of Macroporous Minerals with Highly Ordered Three-Dimensional Arrays of Spheroidal Voids

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Science  24 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5376, pp. 538-540
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5376.538

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Titania, zirconia, and alumina samples with periodic three-dimensional arrays of macropores were synthesized from the corresponding metal alkoxides, using latex spheres as templates. In a fast, single-step reaction, the monomeric alkoxide precursors permeate the array of bulk polystyrene spheres and condense in air at room temperature. Close packed, open-pore structures with 320- to 360-nanometer voids are obtained after calcination of the organic component at 575°C. The examples presented demonstrate the compositional diversity possible with this technique. The resulting highly structured ceramics could have applications in areas ranging from quantum electronics to photocatalysis to battery materials.

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