Hollow mesoporous raspberry-like colloids with removable caps as photoresponsive nanocontainers†
The fabrication, characterisation and controlled cargo release of hollow mesoporous raspberry-like colloids (HMRCs), which are assembled by utilising host–guest complexation of cucurbituril (CB) are described. CB is employed as a supramolecular linker to ‘stick’ the viologen functionalised paramagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles onto an azobenzene functionalised hollow mesoporous silica core. The formed HMRCs are photoresponsive and can be reversibly disassembled upon light irradiation, endowing them with an ability to release loaded cargo under photocontrol. While the assembled HMRCs retain cargo inside their cavity, disassembled particles with their iron oxide nanoparticle ‘caps’ removed will release the loaded cargo through the mesoporous shell of the hollow silica colloids. A model system using a boronic acid derivative as the cargo in the HMRCs and Alizarin Red salt as a sensor for the released boronic acid is demonstrated.