Chemically Modified Opals as Thin Permselective Nanoporous Membranes

J Am Chem Soc. 2005 May 25;127(20):7268-9. doi: 10.1021/ja043275d.


Thin-film opals comprising three layers of 440 nm diameter SiO2 spheres were assembled on Pt electrodes and modified with amino groups on the silica surface. Diffusion of anionic, cationic, and neutral redox species through the opals was studied by cyclic voltammetry. The chemically modified opal membranes demonstrate high molecular throughput and, at low pH, selectively block transport of a cationic redox species relative to that of anionic and neutral redox species. This permselective behavior is attributed to the electrostatic interactions that are enhanced by the tortuous pathway within the opal and by the high surface area of the chemically modified spheres.