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Issue 11, 2011
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The complexity of mesoporous silica nanomaterials unravelled by single molecule microscopy

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Abstract

Mesoporous silica nanomaterials are a novel class of materials that offer a highly complex porous network with nanometre-sized channels into which a wide amount of differently sized guests can be incorporated. This makes them an ideal host for various applications for example in catalysis, chromatography and nanomedicine. For these applications, analyzing the host properties and understanding the complicated host–guest interactions is of pivotal importance. In this perspective we review some of our recent work that demonstrates that single molecule microscopy techniques can be utilized to characterize the porous silica host with unprecedented detail. Furthermore, the single molecule studies reveal sample heterogeneities and are a highly efficient tool to gain direct mechanistic insights into the host–guest interactions. Single molecule microscopy thus contributes to a thorough understanding of these nanomaterials enabling the development of novel tailor-made materials and hence optimizing their applicability significantly.

Graphical abstract: The complexity of mesoporous silica nanomaterials unravelled by single molecule microscopy

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Oct 2010, accepted on 19 Jan 2011 and first published on 16 Feb 2011


Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/C0CP02210A
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011,13, 5017-5033
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    The complexity of mesoporous silica nanomaterials unravelled by single molecule microscopy

    T. Lebold, J. Michaelis and C. Bräuchle, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2011, 13, 5017
    DOI: 10.1039/C0CP02210A

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