Solventless Acid-Free Synthesis of Mesostructured Titania: Nanovessels for Metal Complexes and Metal Nanoclusters



A new and highly reproducible method to obtain mesostructured titania materials is introduced in this contribution. The mesostructured titania is obtained by employing self-assembled structures of non-ionic alkyl-poly(ethylene oxide) surfactants as templates. The materials are produced without additional solvents such as alcohols, or even water. Only the titanium(IV) ethoxide and the surfactant (C12EO10) are needed. Water, in the form of that attached to the surfactant and from the atmosphere, induces growth of titania nanoclusters in the synthesis sol. It is indicated that these nanoclusters interact with the surfactant EO-head groups to form a new titanotropic amphiphile. The new amphiphiles self-assemble into titanium nanocluster–surfactant hybrid lyotropic phases, which are transformed to the final mesostructured materials by further condensation of the titania network. The titania materials can be obtained also with noble-metal particles immobilized in the mesostructured framework. It is seen that when different metal salts are used as the metal precursors, different interactions with the titania walls are found. The materials are characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), polarization optical microscopy (POM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), UV-vis spectroscopy, and micro-Raman analysis.