Kinetics of fluoride-catalysed synthesis of organosilica colloids in aqueous solutions of amphiphiles†
Reactions involving hydrophobic reactants in water can be much accelerated in organic solvent-free solutions containing amphiphiles at neutral pH and room temperature. Previously, we demonstrated that organosilica colloidal particles could be conveniently synthesized by a versatile salt-catalysis method in solutions modified with various amphiphilic molecules. The method precludes the use of any solvent, any added form of energy (thermal or mechanical), and any strong (or hazardous) acids/bases. Herein, the kinetic properties of the reaction were systematically investigated for fluoride-catalysed synthesis of colloidal organosilica from a thiol-functionalized organosilane precursor, (3-mercaptopropyl)trimethoxysilane. Continuous, real-time ATR-FTIR measurements allowed probing the time evolution of organosilica condensation in different reaction systems, containing one of the following: non-ionic surfactants (Tween 20, Tween 40, Tween 60, Tween 80, Triton X-100), anionic surfactant (sodium dodecyl sulphate; SDS), cationic surfactant (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide; CTAB), and amphiphilic polymers (polyvinyl alcohol and polyvinylpyrrolidone). Overall, while some amphiphile-specific properties were revealed, fluoride-catalysed synthesis was ultrafast with a universal two-phase kinetic scheme (e.g. transition within 5–10 min) for all amphiphiles studied.