Synthesis of dl-Alanine Hollow Tubes and Core-Shell Mesostructures



Three double hydrophilic block copolymers were used as crystal-growth modifiers of dl-alanine to generate amorphous precursor nanoparticles that undergo subsequent mesoscopic transformation to core-shell mesostructures and hollow tubes with quadratic cross-sections. The growth sequence can be stopped at various stages so that a series of intermediates between amorphous core- and crystalline-shell particles and tubes can be obtained. Time-dependent conductivity, TEM, SEM, and environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) measurements were used to obtain a better understanding of the crystallization process, and a formation mechanism for the generation of the tubes is proposed. Na2SO4, NaCl, and NaNO3 as salts differ in their influence on the crystallization behavior of alanine by changing the solubility of alanine and by decreasing the stability of the intermediate particles. Core-shell mesostructures that formed in the dissolution–recrystallization process were captured as the transformation rate was decreased by the addition of copolymers or salts. Hollow tubes with quadratic cross-sections are the final product of the transformation process.