Electric-field-induced orientation of surfactant-templated nanoscopic silica


Ku, A. Y. ; Saville, D. A. ; Aksay, I. A. Electric-field-induced orientation of surfactant-templated nanoscopic silica. Langmuir 2007, 23, 8156-8162.

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While exhibiting a well-defined nanometer-level structure, surfactant-templated nanoscopic silicas produced via self-assembly do not always possess long-range order. We demonstrate that long-range order can be controlled by guiding the self-assembly of nanostructured silica-surfactant hybrids with low-strength electric fields (E similar to 200 V/m) to produce nanoscopic silica with both the micrometer- and nanometer-level structures oriented parallel to the applied field. Under the influence of the electric field, nanoscopic silica particles migrate, elongate, and merge into fibers with a rate of migration proportional to the applied field strength. The linear dependence with the field strength indicates that the process is governed by electroosmotic flow but not by polarization effects. Realignment of the short-range ordered surfactant nanochannels along the fiber axis accompanies the migration.