Here we introduce a new synthetic approach to grow mesoporous silica thin films with vertical mesochannels on centimeter-sized substrates via an oil-induced co-assembly process. Adding an oil, i.e., decane, into a CTAB-EtOH-TEOS ammonia solution leads to thin-film formation of mesoporous silica of controlled thickness between 20 and 100 nm with vertical mesochannels on various surfaces. The vertical mesoporous channels were evidenced by grazing incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) characterizations. Decane played two roles: (a) as a pore expansion agent (up to 5.7 ± 0.5 nm) and (b) inducing vertically oriented hexagonal mesophases of micelle-silica composite. The production of periodic and vertical nanochannels is very robust, over many different substrate surfaces (from silicon to polystyrene), various silica precursors (TEOS, fumed silica, or zeolite seed), and many oils (decane, petroleum ether, or ethyl acetate). This wide robustness in the formation of vertical nanophases is attributed to a unique mechanism of confined synthesis of surfactant-silicate between two identical thin layers of oils on a substrate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry