We describe the hydrothermal synthesis of zeolite Linde type A (LTA) submicrometer particles using a water-soluble amphiphilic block copolymer of poly(dimethylsiloxane)-b-poly(ethylene oxide) as a template. The formation and growth of the intermediate aggregates in the presence of the diblock copolymer have been monitored by small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) above the critical micellar concentration at a constant temperature of 45 °C. The early stage of the growth process was characterized by the incorporation of the zeolite LTA components into the surface of the block copolymer micellar aggregates with the formation of primary units of 4.8 nm with a core–shell morphology. During this period, restricted to an initial time of 1–3 h, the core–shell structure of the particles does not show significant changes, while a subsequent aggregation process among these primary units takes place. A shape transition of the SAXS profile at the late stage of the synthesis has been connected with an aggregation process among primary units that leads to the formation of large clusters with fractal characteristics. The formation of large supramolecular assemblies was finally verified by scanning electron microscopy, which evidenced the presence of submicrometer aggregates with size ranging between 100 and 300 nm, while X-ray diffraction confirmed the presence of crystalline zeolite LTA. The main finding of our results gives novel insight into the mechanism of formation of organic–inorganic mesoporous materials based on the use of a soft interacting nanotemplate as well as stimulates the investigation of alternative protocols for the synthesis of novel hybrid materials with new characteristics and properties.
Fields of Expertise
- Advanced Materials Science
Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)
- Basic - Fundamental (Grundlagenforschung)