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Langmuir. 2005 Dec 6;21(25):11994-8.

Swollen poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) as a template for inorganic morphologies.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Santa Cruz, 95064, USA.


We report a series of silica, titania, and zirconia microstructures synthesized within swollen poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). Voids created by solvent-swelling the polymer are used to template the product. The inorganic morphologies range from spheres to networks, depending upon the nature of the polymer, its degree of swelling, and the synthetic conditions. Organic solvents as well as pure metal alkoxide liquids have been used to swell the polymer. Once the alkoxide precursor is inside the swollen polymer, water is introduced to bring about hydrolysis and condensation polymerization. The product is a textured metal oxide within a PDMS matrix. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), optical microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD) were used to characterize the products. Microstructures formed in this manner have potential use as an inexpensive route to catalysts, fillers, capsules, or membranes for separations.

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