Nanostructured Silica and Silica-Derived Materials


Geraud Dubois IBM Research Division, Almaden Research Center

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Silicates are the most commonly found minerals as they are compounds of silicon and oxygen, which together make up almost 75% of the earth's crust. Consequently, silicates are a basic building block of various natural or artificial structures. With emerging interests in nanoscale science and technology, silicate materials containing nanometer-sized structures have been studied and their new and interesting physical, chemical, and biological phenomena are begun to be understood. The control of silica material structures at a nanoscopic level attracts a great deal of interest among the scientific community in the last decade and remains an ongoing challenge. While various kinds of silica polymeric materials have been known for years, new morphologies have recently appeared, such as spherical hollow spheres, transparent films, mesoporous materials with narrow pore size distribution, and nanoporous thin films. In this chapter, we discuss some old and new aspects of the synthesis of silica polymeric nanostructures, as well as their use in emerging technologies.