Ordered mesoporous thin films with well-orientated channels are an important feature in a series of applications including sensors, optics, photocatalysis, and solar cells. However, their preparation remains a great challenge. The structural optimization of highly organized mesoporous silica thin films, with channels perpendicularly orientated to the surface and prepared by a spin-coating technique, is reported. A large series of reaction parameters were revisited with a deep investigation such as the template, solvent, aging time, pH, rotation speed, and duration of spin-coating. The best conditions for each of these different parameters were subsequently used together to control the pore size and channel orientation of the well-organized films. Characterization of the films performed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that the films had homogeneous pores with a uni-directional orientation. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and ellipsometric porosimetry analysis (EP) were employed to determine the orientation of the channels, pore size distribution, specific surface, thickness, and the accessible porosity. The present work constitutes an overall view of the different parameters which influence the formation of silica thin films, such as the thickness and the pore size distribution of a film which can be tailored to suit a potential application. The wettability properties of thin films have been studied by measuring the contact angle with different solvents such as water, isopropanol, and toluene.
Collard, X., Van der Schueren, B., Rooke, J. C., Aprile, C., & Su, B-L. (2013). A comprehensive study of the reaction parameters involved in the synthesis of Silica thin films with well-ordered uni-directional mesopores. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 401, 23-33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2013.02.051