Hierarchical micro-mesoporous silica has been synthesized by solid-phase conversion of molecular crystals of an alkoxy derivative of a cubic siloxane unit (Si8O12) as a molecular building unit. Seven methoxy groups and one adamantoxy group are introduced in a cage by the reaction of octa(hydridosilsesquioxane) (H8Si8O12) with the corresponding alcohols, which are then eliminated in a step-by-step manner. First, the methoxy groups are hydrolyzed by simply dispersing the precursor powder in an acidic aqueous solution. The formation of Si-O-Si linkages between the cages while retaining the bulky adamantoxy groups is confirmed by solid-state NMR. At this stage, broad mesopores (ca. 2 to 7 nm) are formed, as confirmed by nitrogen adsorption-desorption. The adamantoxy groups are then removed by calcination to generate relatively narrow micropores (∼1 nm in diameter). Various control experiments performed suggest that the stepwise solid-phase reaction of bifunctional building blocks is crucial to the formation of such micro-mesoporous silica, providing a new pathway to nanoporous materials with controlled architectures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Materials Science(all)