Despite the enormous interest in the properties and applications of porous silica matrix, only a few attempts have been reported to deposit metal and metal oxide nanoparticles (NPs) inside the porous silica matrix. We report a simple approach (i.e. sol-gel hot injection) for insitu synthesis of ZnO NPs inside a porous silica matrix. Control of the Zn:Si molar ratio, reaction temperature, pH value, and annealing temperature permits formation of ZnO NPs (≤ 10 nm) inside a porous silica particles, without additives or organic solvents. Results revealed that a solid state reaction inside the ZnO/SiO2 nanocomposites occurs with increasing the annealing temperature. The reaction of ZnO NPs with SiO2 matrix was insignificant up to approximately 500 °C. However, ZnO NPs react strongly with the silica matrix when the nanocomposites are annealed at temperatures above 700 °C. Extensive annealing of the ZnO/SiO2 nanocomposite at 900 °C yields 3D structures made of 500 nm rod-like, 5-7 µm tube-like and 3-5 µm needle-like Zn2SiO4 crystals. A possible mechanism for forming ZnO NPs inside porous silica matrix and phase transformation of the ZnO/SiO2 nanocomposites into 3D architectures of Zn2SiO4 are carefully discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-276
JournalMaterials & Design
StatePublished - 5 Apr 2017

    Research areas

  • Sol-gel hot injection, Zinc oxide nanoparticles, Porous silica matrix, Nanocomposite, Zinc silicate, Architectured nanostructures

ID: 31516905