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Temperature-Programmed Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of SBA-15 Ordered Mesoporous Silica

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journal contribution
posted on 08.11.2006, 00:00 authored by Ewa B. Celer, Mietek Jaroniec
The currently available microwave technology permits the development and implementation of a temperature-programmed microwave-assisted synthesis (TPMS) of ordered mesoporous silicas (OMSs). Unlike in previously reported syntheses of OMSs, in which only the final hydrothermal treatment was carried out under microwave irradiation, this work takes advantage of the existing capabilities of modern microwave systems to program the temperature and time for the entire synthesis of these materials. To demonstrate the flexibility of the proposed microwave-assisted synthesis, besides programming two consecutive steps involving initial stirring of the gel at a lower temperature and static hydrothermal treatment at a higher temperature, we explored the possibility of temperature programming of the latter step. A major advantage of microwave technology is the feasibility of temperature and time programming, which has been demonstrated by the synthesis of one of the most popular OMSs, SBA-15, over an unprecedented range of temperatures from 40 to 200 °C. Since the synthesis of OMSs has not yet been explored and reported at temperatures exceeding 150 °C, this work is focused on the SBA-15 samples prepared at higher temperatures (such as 160, 180, and even 200 °C). These SBA-15 samples show better thermal stability than those synthesized at commonly used temperatures either under conventional or microwave conditions. Moreover, a partial decomposition of the template during high-temperature microwave-assisted syntheses does not compromise the formation of well-ordered SBA-15 materials. This study shows that the simplicity and capability of temperature and time programming in TPMS allows one not only to tune the adsorption and structural properties of OMSs but also to easily screen a wide range of conditions in order to optimize and scale-up their preparation as well as to significantly reduce the time of synthesis from days to hours.