Scalable synthesis of multicomponent multifunctional inorganic core@mesoporous silica shell nanocomposites

Muling Zeng, Ying Shu, Marina Parra-Robert, Diti Desai, Hongzhi Zhou, Qihong Li, Zhifeng Rong, Didem Ṣen Karaman, Huiling Yang, Jingbao Peng, Guillermo Fernández-Varo, Wladimiro Jiménez, Gregori Casals, Víctor Puntes, Jessica Rosenholm, Eudald Casals Mercadal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Integrating multiple materials with different functionalities in a single nanostructure enables advances in many scientific and technological applications. However, such highly sophisticated nanomaterials usually require complex synthesis processes that complicate their preparation in a sustainable and industrially feasible manner. Herein, we designed a simple general method to grow a mesoporous silica shell onto any combination of hydrophilic nanoparticle cores. The synthetic strategy, based on the adjustment of the key parameters of the sol-gel process for the silica shell formation, allows for the embedment of single, double, and triple inorganic nanoparticles within the same shell, as well as the size-control of the obtained nanocomposites. No additional interfacial adhesive layer is required on the nanoparticle surfaces for the embedding process. Adopting this approach, electrostatically stabilized, small-sized (from 4 to 15 nm) CeO2, Fe3O4, Gd2O3, NaYF4, Au, and Ag cores were used to test the methodology. The mean diameter of the resulting nanocomposites could be as low as 55 nm, with high monodispersity. These are very feasible sizes for biological intervention, and we further observed increased nanoparticle stability in physiological environments. As a demonstration of their increased activity as a result of this, the antioxidant activity of CeO2 cores was enhanced when in core-shell form. Remarkably, the method is conducted entirely at room temperature, atmospheric conditions, and in aqueous solvent with the use of ethanol as co-solvent. These facile and even “green” synthesis conditions favor scalability and easy preparation of multicomponent nanocomposite libraries with standard laboratory glassware and simple benchtop chemistry, through this sustainable and cost-effective fabrication process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112272
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering: C
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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