Reversible control of pore size and surface chemistry of mesoporous silica through dynamic covalent chemistry: philicity mediated catalysis†
Here, we report the synthesis of adaptive hybrid mesoporous silica having the ability to reconfigure its pore properties such as pore size and philicity in response to the external environment. Decyl chains were reversibly appended to the pore walls of silica through imine motifs as dynamic covalent modules to switch the pore size and philicity in response to pH. This switching of pore properties was used to gate the access of reactants to the gold nanoparticles immobilized inside the nanopores, thus enabling us to turn-on/turn-off the catalytic reaction. The use of such dynamic covalent modules to govern pore properties would enable the realization of intelligent hybrids capable of controlling many such chemical processes in response to stimuli.