, Volume 4, Issue 10, pp 1171-1177,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 27 Jun 2009

A Facile Strategy for In Situ Core-Template-Functionalizing Siliceous Hollow Nanospheres for Guest Species Entrapment


The shell wall-functionalized siliceous hollow nanospheres (SHNs) with functional molecules represent an important class of nanocarriers for a rich range of potential applications. Herein, a self-templated approach has been developed for the synthesis of in situ functionalized SHNs, in which the biocompatible long-chain polycarboxylates (i.e., polyacrylate, polyaspartate, gelatin) provide the framework for silica precursor deposition by simply controlling chain conformation with divalent metal ions (i.e., Ca2+, Sr2+), without the intervention of any external templates. Metal ions play crucial roles in the formation of organic vesicle templates by modulating the long chains of polymers and preventing them from separation by washing process. We also show that, by in situ functionalizing the shell wall of SHNs, it is capable of entrapping nearly an eightfold quantity of vitamin Bc in comparison to the bare bulk silica nanospheres. These results confirm the feasibility of guest species entrapment in the functionalized shell wall, and SHNs are effective carriers of guest (bio-)molecules potentially for a variety of biomedical applications. By rationally choosing the functional (self-templating) molecules, this concept may represent a general strategy for the production of functionalized silica hollow structures.