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Langmuir. 2011 Nov 1;27(21):13242-7. doi: 10.1021/la202055f. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Synthesis of titania-silica core-shell microspheres via a controlled interface reaction in a microfluidic device.

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The State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.


In this work, we describe a novel, simple microfluidic method for fabricating titania-silica core-shell microspheres. Uniform droplets of silica sol were dispersed into an oil phase containing tetrabutyl titanate via a coaxial microfluidic device. The titanium alkoxide hydrolyzed at the water-oil interface after the formation of the aqueous droplets. A gel shell containing the titanium hydroxide formed around the droplets, and the titania-silica core-shell microspheres were obtained after calcinations. The X-ray diffraction results show that titania coatings crystallized into a pure anatase structure. The scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive spectrometry characterization shows that the microspheres are monodispersed with uniform titania coating on the surface. The dispersity and size of the microspheres could easily be controlled by changing the microfluidic flow parameters. The titania content on the surface could be adjusted in the large range of 1.0-98.0 mol % by varying the continuous phase composition and the reaction time, and the structures of the core-shell microshperes could also be controlled.

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