• coordination chemistry;
  • mesoporous silica;
  • metal complexes;
  • nanoparticles;
  • synthetic methods


The development of synthetic routes for the tailoring of efficient silica-based heterogeneous catalysts functionalized with coordination complexes or metallic nanoparticles has become a important goal in chemistry. Most of these techniques have been based on postsynthetic treatments of preformed silicas. Nevertheless, there is an emerging approach, so-called sol–gel coordination chemistry, based on co-condensation during the sol–gel preparation of the hybrid material of the corresponding complex or nanoparticle modified with terminal trialkoxysilane groups with a silica source (such as tetraethoxysilane) and in the presence of an adequate surfactant. This method leads to the production of new mesoporous metal complex-silica materials, with the metallic functionality incorporated homogeneously into the structure of the hybrid material, improving the stability of the coordination complex (which is protected by the silica network) and reducing the leaching of the active phase. This technique also offers the actual possibility of functionalizing silica or other metal oxides for a wider range of applications, such as photonics, sensing, and biochemical functions.