Ames Laboratory; Chemistry
Ames Laboratory, Chemistry
The Journal of Chemical Physics
The pH at silica-water interfaces (pHint) was measured by grafting a dual emission fluorescent probe (SNARF) onto the surface of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN). The values of pHint of SNARF-MSN suspended in water were different from the pH of the bulk solution (pHbulk). The addition of acid or base to aqueous suspensions of SNARF-MSN induced much larger changes in pHbulk than pHint, indicating that the interface has buffering capacity. Grafting additional organic functional groups onto the surface of SNARF-MSN controls the pHint of its buffering region. The responses of pHint to variations in pHbulk are consistent with the acid/base properties of the surface groups as determined by their pKa and are affected by electrostatic interactions between charged interfacial species as evidenced by the dependence of ζ-potential on pHbulk. Finally, as a proof of principle, we demonstrate that the hydrolysis rate of an acid-sensitive acetal can be controlled by adjusting pHint via suitable functionalization of the MSN surface. Our findings can lead to the development of nanoreactors that protect sensitive species from adverse conditions and tune their chemical reactivity.
DOE Contract Number(s)
Department of Energy Subject Categories
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY
Iowa State University Digital Repository, Ames IA (United States)