Nanostructure and pore size control of template-free synthesised mesoporous magnesium carbonate†
The structure of mesoporous magnesium carbonate (MMC) first presented in 2013 is investigated using a bottom-up approach. MMC is found to be built from the aggregation of nanoparticles of amorphous MgCO3 and MgO with a coating of amorphous MgCO3. The nanoparticles have dimensions of approximately 2–5 nm as observed using transmission electron microscopy and the aggregation of the particles creates the pore structure of MMC. We further show that the average pore diameter of MMC can be controlled by varying the temperature during the powder formation process and demonstrate that altering the pore size opens the possibility to tune the amorphous phase stabilisation properties that MMC exerts on poorly soluble drug compounds. Specifically, we show the loading and release of the antifungal drug itraconazole using MMC as a drug carrier.