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Nucleation and Growth of Monodisperse Silica Nanoparticles

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posted on 12.03.2014, 00:00 authored by Camille C. M. C. Carcouët, Marcel W. P. van de Put, Brahim Mezari, Pieter C. M. M. Magusin, Jozua Laven, Paul H. H. Bomans, Heiner Friedrich, A. Catarina C. Esteves, Nico A. J. M. Sommerdijk, Rolf A. T. M. van Benthem, Gijsbertus de With
Although monodisperse amorphous silica nanoparticles have been widely investigated, their formation mechanism is still a topic of debate. Here, we demonstrate the formation of monodisperse nanoparticles from colloidally stabilized primary particles, which at a critical concentration undergo a concerted association process, concomitant with a morphological and structural collapse. The formed assemblies grow further by addition of primary particles onto their surface. The presented mechanism, consistent with previously reported observations, reconciles the different theories proposed to date.