Chemistry Terms

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  • core–shell structures;
  • magnetic properties;
  • mesoporous materials;
  • nanostructures;
  • solvothermal methods


A solvothermal post-treatment method was developed to synthesize Fe3O4@mesosilica core–shell nanospheres (CSNs) with a well-preserved morphology, mesoporous structure, and tunable large pore diameters (2.5–17.6 nm) for the first time. N,N-Dimethylhexadecylamine (DMHA), which was generated in situ during the heat-treatment process, was mainly responsible for this pore-size enlargement, as characterized by NMR spectroscopy. This pore-size expansion can be strengthened with the aid of hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS), whilst the nature of the surface of the Fe3O4@mesosilica CSNs can be easily modified with trimethylsilyl groups during the pore-size-expansion process. The hydrophobicity of the Fe3O4@mesosilica CSNs increased for the enlarged mesopores and the adsorption capacity of these CSNs for benzene (up to 1.5 g g−1) is the highest ever reported for Fe3O4@mesosilica CSNs. The resultant Fe3O4@mesosilica CSNs (pore size: 10 nm) showed a 3.6-times higher adsorption capacity of lysozyme than those without the pore expansion (pore size: 2.5 nm), thus making them a good candidate for loading large molecules.

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