Journal of colloid and interface science

Synthesis of hollow ellipsoidal silica nanostructures using a wet-chemical etching approach.

PMID 22436727


We have utilized wet-chemical etching of ellipsoidal silica nanoparticles (ESNs) to form silica nanoshells of a range of elliptical morphologies, with the thicknesses of the ellipsoidal silica nanoshells (ESSs) controlled through variation of synthesis conditions. A mechanism has been proposed to explain how the nanoshells are formed, and we demonstrate that the porosity of the silica ellipsoid plays a role in generating silica shells. Our self-templated, wet-etching approach is an attractive alternate procedure to the approaches presently in existence for the following reasons: (i) it is a facile, one-step process that directly produces ellipsoidal silica nanoshells, while overcoming barriers (such as requirement of removing a solid-core template seed) utilized in many reported chemical etching studies; (ii) it results in ellipsoidal silica nanostructures with dimension less than 100 nm; (iii) with an appropriate etchant, the roughness of the silica shells can be well-controlled; and (iv) it results in tunable, uniform size particles with controllable shell thicknesses. Moreover, the silica materials with the unique structures might be adjusted to meet practical application requirements.