Self-assembly mechanism of folate-templated mesoporous silica

Rambabu Atluri, Muhammad Naeem Iqbal, Zoltan Bacsik, Niklas Hedin, Luis Angel Villaescusa, Alfonso E. Garcia-Bennett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


A method to form ordered mesoporous silica based on the use of folate supramolecular templates has been developed. Evidence based on in situ small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), electron microscopy, infrared spectroscopy, and in situ conductivity measurements are used to investigate the organic-inorganic interactions and synthesis mechanism. The behavior of folate molecules in solution differs distinctively from that of surfactants commonly used for the preparation of ordered mesoporous silica phases, notably with the absence of a critical micellar concentration. In situ SAXS studies reveal fluctuations in X-ray scattering intensities consistent with the condensation of the silica precursor surrounding the folate template and the growth of the silica mesostructure in the initial stages. High-angle X-ray diffraction shows that the folate template is well-ordered within the pores even after a few minutes of synthesis. Direct structural data for the self-assembly of folates into chiral tetramers within the pores of mesoporous silica provide evidence for the in register stacking of folate tetramers, resulting in a chiral surface of rotated tetramers, with a rotation angle of 30. Additionally, the self-assembled folates within pores were capable of adsorbing a considerable amount of CO 2 gas through the cavity space of the tetramers. The study demonstrates the validity of using a naturally occurring template to produce relevant and functional mesoporous materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12003-12012
Number of pages10
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2013
Externally publishedYes


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