Journal of Physical Chemistry C vol:113 issue:49 pages:20827-20836
The very first stages of the incorporation of tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) into aqueous tetrapropylammonium hydroxide (TPAOH) by hydrolysis are investigated to clarify the formation of silicate species in Solution: oligomers and nanoparlicles. Silicate speciation of both oligomers and nanoparticles were characterized using quantitative Si-29 NMR, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), dynamic light scattering (DLS), and H-1 diffusion-ordered NMR spectroscopy (DOSY). The main parameter measured for following this formation with the advancement of hydrolysis of TEOS is the evolution of silicon connectivity, in oligomers as well as in nanoparticles. At the beginning of TEOS hydrolysis, small oligomers are formed, which grow in number and size as the reaction progresses, with an average connectivity going from 0 to 2.1. At Si/TPAOH ratio of 1.0 and above, nanoparticles form through aggregation of oligomers with some additional condensation. Their connectivity varies from 2.4 to 3.1. These nanoparticles cannot be confused with condensed silica particles.