A tri-continuous mesoporous material with a silica pore wall following a hexagonal minimal surface
KAUST DepartmentPhysical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division
Chemical Science Program
Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Research Center
Nanostructured Functional Materials (NFM) laboratory
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AbstractOrdered porous materials with unique pore structures and pore sizes in the mesoporous range (2-50nm) have many applications in catalysis, separation and drug delivery. Extensive research has resulted in mesoporous materials with one-dimensional, cage-like and bi-continuous pore structures. Three families of bi-continuous mesoporous materials have been made, with two interwoven but unconnected channels, corresponding to the liquid crystal phases used as templates. Here we report a three-dimensional hexagonal mesoporous silica, IBN-9, with a tri-continuous pore structure that is synthesized using a specially designed cationic surfactant template. IBN-9 consists of three identical continuous interpenetrating channels, which are separated by a silica wall that follows a hexagonal minimal surface. Such a tri-continuous mesostructure was predicted mathematically, but until now has not been observed in real materials. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
SponsorsWe thank C. Bonneau for discussion related to topology and minimal surfaces, and P. Oleynikov for software assistance. This research is supported by the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (Biomedical Research Council, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore), the Swedish Research Council (VR) and the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA). J.-L.S. is supported by a postdoctoral grant from the Carl-Trygger Foundation.
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