Unexpected “Hammerlike Liquid” to Pulverize Silica Powders to Stable Sols and Its Application in the Preparation of Sub-10 nm SiO2 Hybrid Nanoparticles with Chirality
Xin-Ling Liu, Seiji Tsunega, and Ren-Hua Jin
Silane coupling agents are well-known as surface modifiers for various kinds of silica (SiO2). However, in the present research, it has been found that they can also work as “hammerlike liquid” to pulverize different kinds of bulk amorphous SiO2 in aqueous systems. This new function was typically clarified by using 3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane (APS) and bundles of chiral SiO2nanofibers (with average diameter of ∼10 nm) as raw materials. By a simple reflux of the mixture of SiO2 nanofibers and excessive APS in pure H2O, the solid-containing mixture turned into a completely clear solution that contained sub-10 nm, amine-modified, and water-soluble hybrid SiO2 sols (HS-sols). Moreover, this solution showed blue luminescence under ultraviolet irradiation. Furthermore, the circular dichroism and vibrational circular dichroism spectra revealed that the HS-sols are optically active even though the pristine chiral SiO2 nanofibers were completely destroyed. It was considered that the chirality of SiO2 nanofibers was due to the asymmetric arrangement of Si and O atoms in chiral domains (<10 nm) on the Si–O–Si network of SiO2, and these domains are still preserved in chiral HS-sols. This green method has high potential for the recycling of rich SiO2 sources to obtain functional SiO2 nanomaterials with applications such as optical display, imaging, and chiral recognition. Also, it offers a tool for the analysis of the structural properties of SiO2 on the molecular scale.
Vibrational circular dichroism, Chirality; Fibers; Luminescence; Nanoparticles