Formation Mechanism of Multipurpose Silica Nanocapsules

Graham, Michael and Shchukin, Dmitry ORCID: 0000-0002-2936-804X
(2021) Formation Mechanism of Multipurpose Silica Nanocapsules. LANGMUIR, 37 (2). pp. 918-927.

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Core-shell structures containing active materials can be fabricated using almost infinite reactant combinations. A mechanism to describe their formation is therefore useful. In this work, nanoscale all-silica shell capsules with an aqueous core were fabricated by the HCl-catalyzed condensation of tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS), using Pickering emulsion templates. Pickering emulsions were fabricated using modified commercial silica (LUDOX TMA) nanoparticles as stabilizers. By following the reaction over a 24 h period, a general mechanism for their formation is suggested. The interfacial activity of the Pickering emulsifiers heavily influenced the final capsule products. Fully stable Pickering emulsion templates with interfacially active particles allowed a highly stable sub-micrometer (500-600 nm) core-shell structure to form. Unstable Pickering emulsions, i.e., where interfacially inactive silica nanoparticles do not adsorb effectively to the interface and produce only partially stable emulsion droplets, resulted in capsule diameter increasing markedly (1+ μm). Scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) measurements revealed the layered silica "colloidosome" structure: a thin yet robust inner silica shell with modified silica nanoparticles anchored to the outer interface. Varying the composition of emulsion phases also affected the size of capsule products, allowing size tuning of the capsules. Silica capsules are promising protective nanocarriers for hydrophilic active materials in applications such as heat storage, sensors, and drug delivery.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nanotechnology, Bioengineering
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Physical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2021 08:00
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2024 10:59
DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.0c03286
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