Self-Assembly of Alkyl-Substituted Cubic Siloxane Cages into Ordered Hybrid Materials



Siloxane-organic hybrids with well-ordered mesostructures were synthesized through the self-assembly of novel amphiphilic molecules that consist of cubic siloxane heads and hydrophobic alkyl tails. The monoalkyl precursors functionalized with ethoxy groups (CnH2n+1Si8O12(OEt)7, 1 Cn, n=16, 18, and 20) were hydrolyzed under acidic conditions with the retention of the siloxane cages, leading to the formation of two-dimensional hexagonal phases by evaporation-induced self-assembly processes. Analysis of the solid-state 29Si MAS NMR spectra of these hybrid mesostructures confirmed that the cubic siloxane units were cross-linked to form siloxane networks. Calcination of these hybrids gave mesoporous silica, the pore diameter of which varied depending on the alkyl-chain length. We also found that the precursors that had two alkyl chains formed lamellar phases, thus confirming that the number of alkyl chains per cage had a strong influence on the mesostructures. These results expand the design possibility of novel nanohybrid and nanoporous materials through the self-assembly of well-defined oligosiloxane-based precursors.