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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2013 Mar 15;394:475-84. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2012.12.008. Epub 2012 Dec 29.

High surface area Au-SBA-15 and Au-MCM-41 materials synthesis: tryptophan amino acid mediated confinement of gold nanostructures within the mesoporous silica pore walls.

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Center for Advanced Materials and Industrials Chemistry, School of Applied Sciences, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia.


Advantages of confining the gold nanostructures formation within the mesoporous silica pore walls during its silica condensation and consequent improvement in the textural properties such as specific surface area, pore volume, pore diameter have been demonstrated, while retaining gold nanostructures within the silica walls. This has been achieved by tryptophan mediated confinement of gold nanoparticles formation within the condensing silica framework, to obtain Au-SBA-15 (SSA 1247 m(2)/g, V(t)~1.37 cm(3)/g) and Au-MCM-41 (SSA 1287 m(2)/g, V(t)~1.1 cm(3)/g), mesoporous silica materials having the combination of very high surface area from the porous support as well as gold nanoparticles infiltrated silica walls. Choice of tryptophan for this purpose is that it has an indole group, which was known to reduce gold ions to form gold nanoparticles and its amine and carboxylic acid groups, catalyze the hydrolysis of silica precursors in a wide range of pH. These properties have been utilized in restricting the gold nanostructures formation inside the condensing silica phase without affecting the self assembly between the silica precursors and the triblock copolymer (for SBA-15) or cetyltrimethylammonium bromide template (for MCM-41). The polytryptophan and the gold nanostructures, which were encapsulated within the silica framework and upon removal of the template by calcination resulting in the formation mesoporous materials wherein the silica walls become microporous due to the removal of occluded polytryptophan and the resulting microchannels contain very small gold nanostructures. Hence, the resulting materials have very high surface area, high pore volume and narrow pore size distribution as compared to their parent SBA-15, MCM-41 and SBA-15, MCM-41 post functionalized with gold nanoparticles inside the pores.

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