Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2014, Article ID 176015, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/176015
Research Article

Synthesis and Physicochemical Characterization of Mesoporous Nanoparticles

1Analytical Biochemistry and Proteomics Laboratory, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada, Canada
2Department of Chemistry, Centre for Catalysis Research and Innovation (CCRI), University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
3Inhalation Toxicology Laboratory, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada, Canada
4Nanotechnology Section, New Substances Assessment and Control Bureau, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada, Canada

Received 27 December 2013; Revised 21 March 2014; Accepted 24 March 2014; Published 18 May 2014

Academic Editor: Miguel A. Correa-Duarte

Copyright © 2014 Dharani Das et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

There exists a knowledge gap in understanding potential toxicity of mesoporous silica nanoparticles. A critical step in assessing toxicity of these particles is to have a wide size range with different chemistries and physicochemical properties. There are several challenges when synthesizing mesoporous silica nanoparticles over a wide range of sizes including (1) nonuniform synthesis protocols using the same starting materials, (2) the low material yield in a single batch synthesis (especially for particles below 60–70 nm), and (3) morphological instability during surfactant removal process and surface modifications. In this study, we synthesized a library of mesoporous silica nanoparticles with approximate particle sizes of 25, 70, 100, 170, and 600 nm. Surfaces of the silica nanoparticles were modified with hydrophilic-CH2–(CH2)2–COOH and relatively hydrophobic-CH2–(CH2)10–COOH functional groups. All silica nanoparticles were analysed for morphology, surface functionality, surface area/pore volume, surface organic content, and dispersion characteristics in liquid media. Our analysis revealed the synthesis of a spectrum of monodisperse bare and surface modified mesoporous silica nanoparticles with a narrow particle size distribution and devoid of cocontaminants critical for toxicity studies. Complete physicochemical characterization of these synthetic mesoporous silica nanoparticles will permit systematic toxicology studies for investigation of structure-activity relationships.