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Appl Opt. 2011 Sep 20;50(27):5329-37. doi: 10.1364/AO.50.005329.

Diffusion dynamics of small molecules from mesoporous silicon films by real-time optical interferometry.

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  • 1Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37235, USA.


Time-dependent laser reflectometry measurements are presented as a means to rigorously characterize analyte diffusion dynamics of small molecules from mesoporous silicon (PSi) films for drug delivery and membrane physics applications. Calculations based on inclusion of a spatially and temporally dependent solute concentration profile in a one-dimensional Fickian diffusion flow model are performed to determine the diffusion coefficients for the selected prototypical polar species, sucrose (340 Da), exiting from PSi films. The diffusion properties of the molecules depend on both PSi pore size and film thickness. For films with average pore diameters between 10-30 nm and film thicknesses between 300-900 nm, the sucrose diffusion coefficient can be tuned between approximately 100 and 550 μm2/s. Extensions of the real-time measurement and modeling approach for determining the diffusivity of small molecules that strongly interact with and corrode the internal surfaces of PSi films are also discussed.

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