Nanobuilding blocks based on the [OSiO1.5]x (x = 6, 8, 10) octasilsesquioxanes
The dissolution of high surface area silica with tetralkylammonium hydroxides at concentrations greater than 0.2 M, produces polyanionic cage structures, [R4N+][−OSiO1.5]x or Qx, where x = 6, 8 or 10. The value x depends on the type of alkyl or alkanol group. If R = Me or Me3NCH2CH2OH+ group (choline) x = 8 is favored. These silicate anions can be functionalized by reaction with chlorosilanes or siloxanes to produce [RSiMe2OSiO1.5]x. The octafunctional molecules are 1.2–1.4 nm in diameter, each functional group occupies a different octant in Cartesian space and as such all functional groups are either orthogonal to or opposite each other. This highly symmetrical structure offers the opportunity to construct multiple kinds of materials one nanometer at a time in one, two or three dimensions. In this review, we discuss methods of synthesizing the polyanionic silicates, their transformation into octafunctional building blocks, “cubes,” and their use in formulating polyfunctional compounds and nanocomposites therefrom. Examples of tailoring global properties by tailoring the chemistries used to link cubes are given.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Functional hybrid materials