Structural variations in mesoporous materials with cubic Pm3̄n symmetry

Rambabu Atluri, Zoltán Bacsik, Niklas Hedin, Alfonso E. Garcia-Bennett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The fine structural details of mesoporous materials possessing Pm3̄n symmetry prepared with varying amphiphilic surfactants under acid and alkaline conditions are investigated using electron crystallography and sorption studies. The structural data derived is used to understand the parameters that govern the formation of cavity-windows and to propose synthetic strategies in order to control independently the size of the cavities and cavity-windows. Results support that whilst attainment of Pm3̄n cubic packing is due to the overall surfactant geometry, the formation of cavity-windows is associated with the hydration layer formed at the interphase between the surfactant and the silica wall. The charge density at the micelle surface may be tailored using two strategies: (i) using dicationic gemini surfactants at low pHs resulting in an increase in the hydration layer; or (ii) by using co-structure directing agents such as organoalkoxysilanes which reduce the hydration layer surrounding the micelles. The latter leads to the formation of higher cavity sizes and may be useful for tuning fine structural details of mesoporous materials when considering their use in important applications such as gas separation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalMicroporous and Mesoporous Materials
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Amphiphilic surfactants
  • Electron microscopy
  • Gas separation
  • Mesoporous materials
  • Structural solutions


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