Ordered porous materials with unique pore structures and pore sizes in the mesoporous range (2-50nm) have many applications in catalysis, separation and drug delivery. Extensive research has resulted in mesoporous materials with one-dimensional, cage-like and bi-continuous pore structures. Three families of bi-continuous mesoporous materials have been made, with two interwoven but unconnected channels, corresponding to the liquid crystal phases used as templates. Here we report a three-dimensional hexagonal mesoporous silica, IBN-9, with a tri-continuous pore structure that is synthesized using a specially designed cationic surfactant template. IBN-9 consists of three identical continuous interpenetrating channels, which are separated by a silica wall that follows a hexagonal minimal surface. Such a tri-continuous mesostructure was predicted mathematically, but until now has not been observed in real materials. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)