Confining the growth of mesoporous silica films into nanospaces: towards surface nanopatterning

The combination of lithographic methods and sol gel bottom-up techniques is a promising approach for nanopatterning substrates. The integration and scalable fabrication of such substrates are of great interest for the development of nanowire-based materials opening potentialities in new technologies.

We demonstrate the deposition of ordered mesoporous silica into nanopatterned silica substrates by dip coating. Using scanning electron microscopy and grazing incidence small angle X-ray scattering, the effect of the sol composition on the pore ordering was probed. Optimising the sol composition using anodic alumina membranes as confined spaces, we showed how the pH controlled the transformation from circular to columnar mesophase.

Vertical mesopores were obtained with very good repeatability. The effect of the sol chemistry on the surfactant curvature was then shown to be similar in nanopatterned substrates made by e-beam lithography.

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Article information: Samantha Soulé, Gilles E. Moehl, Ruomeng Huang, Yasir J. Noori, Kian Shen Kiang, C. H. Kees de Groot, Richard Beanland, David C. Smith and Andrew L. Hector. DOI: 10.1039/D1NA00654A (Paper) Nanoscale Adv., 2022, Advance Article.

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