Role of Lyotropic Liquid Crystals in Templating Mesosilica Materials

Role of Lyotropic Liquid Crystals in Templating Mesosilica Materials

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Author(s): Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

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DOI: 10.18483/ijSci.2691 21 53 7-40 Volume 12 - Jul 2023


Here we consider the lyotropic liquid crystals and their role in templating the scaffolds of mesoporous silica materials. It was in 1992 that a Mobil Research group disclosed a method to produce silica particles having a regular network of pores with hexagonal and cubic symmetries. The method was proposed as a liquid-crystal 'templating' mechanism. Since the symmetries resulting in the silica scaffolds are those observed in the mesophases of lyotropic liquid crystals, the Mobil Research group supposed the presence of mesophases directly in the templating process. Here we discuss the method as it was reported in 1992 and what is today defined as the true or direct liquid-crystal templating LCT approach. It will be stressed that, in any case, LCT is a surfactant-assisted method that can be better defined as a supramolecular templating method. The template mainly happens in the form of a modified Stöber process. In this framework, the role of the curvature of silica-surfactant interfaces will be considered, the cubic phases of lyotropic liquid crystals analyzed in depth and the related surfaces with zero mean curvature discussed in detail.


Liquid crystals, Lyotropic liquid crystals, Mesophases, Hexagonal phase, Curvature of interface, Cubic phases, Bicontinuous cubic phases, Mesoporous Silica Materials


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