An ordered mesoporous organosilica hybrid material with a crystal-like wall structure

Nature. 2002 Mar 21;416(6878):304-7. doi: 10.1038/416304a.


Surfactant-mediated synthesis strategies are widely used to fabricate ordered mesoporous solids in the form of metal oxides, metals, carbon and hybrid organosilicas. These materials have amorphous pore walls, which could limit their practical utility. In the case of mesoporous metal oxides, efforts to crystallize the framework structure by thermal and hydrothermal treatments have resulted in crystallization of only a fraction of the pore walls. Here we report the surfactant-mediated synthesis of an ordered benzene-silica hybrid material; this material has an hexagonal array of mesopores with a lattice constant of 52.5 A, and crystal-like pore walls that exhibit structural periodicity with a spacing of 7.6 A along the channel direction. The periodic pore surface structure results from alternating hydrophilic and hydrophobic layers, composed of silica and benzene, respectively. We believe that this material is formed as a result of structure-directing interactions between the benzene-silica precursor molecules, and between the precursor molecules and the surfactants. We expect that other organosilicas and organo-metal oxides can be produced in a similar fashion, to yield a range of hierarchically ordered mesoporous solids with molecular-scale pore surface periodicity.