Preparation of zinc oxide with a three-dimensionally interconnected macroporous structure via a sol–gel method accompanied by phase separation†
A facile method for the preparation of zinc oxide with three-dimensionally (3D) interconnected macropores has been developed. The Zn-based monolithic gel was obtained using citric acid (CA) as a structure supporter via an epoxide-mediated sol–gel method accompanied by phase separation. The size of the macropores could be controlled by the ratio of methanol to propylene oxide in the starting solution. The Zn-based gel was heat-treated in air with the purpose of removing the organic components and crystallizing the ZnO, finally resulting in pure ZnO (purity >90%, with negligible carbon content) with 3D interconnected macropores and an open nanoscale network. The influence of the starting solvent composition on the Zn-based gel morphologies has been examined and discussed based on the chemical compatibility of the Zn–CA complex with other components.