Functionalized organosilica microspheres via a novel emulsion-based route

Chris R. Miller, Robert Vogel, Peter P.T. Surawski, Kevin S. Jack, Simon R. Corrie, Matt Trau

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97 Citations (Scopus)


Thiol-functionalized organosilica microspheres were synthesized via a two-step process: (1) acid-catalyzed hydrolysis and condensation of 3-mercaptopropyltrimethoxysilane (MPTMS), followed by (2) base-catalyzed condensation, which led to the rapid formation of emulsion droplets with a narrow size distribution. These droplets continued to condense to form solid microspheres. Solution 29 Si NMR and optical microscopy were applied to study the mechanism of this novel synthetic route. Solid-state 29 Si NMR, SEM, zeta potential titration, and Coulter counter measurements were used to study the bulk and surface properties and to determine the particle size distributions of the final microspheres. Compared to conventional Stöber silica particles, these microspheres were shown to have a lower degree of cross-linking (average degree of condensation, r = 1.25), a larger average size (up to 6 μm), and a higher isoelectric point (pH = 4.4). Confocal microscopy of dye-labeled microspheres showed an even distribution of dye molecules throughout the interior, characteristic of a readily accessible and permeable organosilica network. These findings have implications for the production of functionalized solid supports for use in catalysis and biological applications, such as optically encoded carriers for combinatorial synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9733-9740
Number of pages8
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes

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