Synthesis of smart mesoporous materials

Journal Article

This study details development of hybrid mesoporous materials in which molecular transport through mesopores can be precisely controlled and reversibly modulated. Mesoporous silica materials formed by surfactant templating were modified by surface initiated atom transfer radical polymerization of poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) (PNIPAAm) a stimuli responsive polymer (SRP) within the porous network. Thermo gravimetric analysis and FTIR spectroscopy were used to confirm the presence of PNIPAAm on the silica surface. Nitrogen porosimetry, transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction analyses confirmed that polymerization occurred uniformly within the porous network. Uptake and release of fluorescent dyes from the particles was monitored by spectrofluorimetry and scanning laser confocal microscopy. Results suggest that the presence of PNIPAAm, a SRP, in the porous network can be used to modulate the transport of aqueous solutes. At low temperature, (e.g., room temperature) the PNIPAAm is hydrated and extended and inhibits transport of analytes; at higher temperatures (e.g., 50°C) it is hydrophobic and is collapsed within the pore network, thus allowing solute diffusion into or out of the mesoporous silica. The transition form hydrophilic to hydrophobic state on polymer grafted mesoporous membranes was determined by contact angle measurements. This work has implications for the development of materials for the selective control of transport of molecular solutes in a variety of applications.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rao, GVR; Fu, Q; Ista, LK; Xu, H; Balamurugan, S; Sklar, LA; Ward, TL; López, GP

Published Date

  • 2003

Published In

  • Materials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings

Volume / Issue

  • 775 /

Start / End Page

  • 205 - 210