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Multicompartment Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles with Branched Shapes: An Epitaxial Growth Mechanism

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Science  19 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6130, pp. 337-341
DOI: 10.1126/science.1231391

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Tuning Mesopores

Porous materials are of interest for catalysis and filtration because the open channels lend themselves to separating materials or function. Suteewong et al. (p. 337) report on a method to make branched mesoporous silica nanoparticles that contain cubic (core) and hexagonally structured (branch) parts within one particle. Controlling the extent of the branched structure is achieved by tuning the concentration of additives in a simple, one-pot reaction system.

Abstract

Mesoporous nanomaterials have attracted widespread interest because of their structural versatility for applications including catalysis, separation, and nanomedicine. We report a one-pot synthesis method for a class of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) containing both cubic and hexagonally structured compartments within one particle. These multicompartment MSNs (mc-MSNs) consist of a core with cage-like cubic mesoporous morphology and up to four branches with hexagonally packed cylindrical mesopores epitaxially growing out of the cubic core vertices. The extent of cylindrical mesostructure growth can be controlled via a single additive in the synthesis. Results suggest a path toward high levels of architectural complexity in locally amorphous, mesostructured nanoparticles, which could enable tuning of different pore environments of the same particle for specific chemistries in catalysis or drug delivery.

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