Surface modification of silica nanoparticles synthesized by the sol–gel process was performed using coupling agents, 3-(trimethoxysilyl) propyl methacrylate (MSMA) and/or trimethyethoxylsilane (TMES). The chemical structures of the formed particles were analyzed by means of Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and solid-state Si-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (Si-NMR), and the particle sizes were determined by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) imaging. The latter results indicate that such surface modifications can effectively lessen the serious aggregation being common to pure silica nanoparticles. In some cases, separate particles of ca. 5–10 nm dia. could be obtained, when both MSMA and TMES were employed during the modification process. Dynamic light scattering method was adopted to examine the stability of the prepared silica sols during a long-term storage. It was found that the aggregation phenomenon can essentially be eliminated in case that the surface of silica contained sufficient amount of TMES moiety. Vacuum distillation was used to remove the volatile components such as methanol, ethanol, and water from the silica sol. The condensed product, containing 2 wt% residual solvent, appeared as a uniform transparent paste-like material, which can be dispersed in common organic solvents and monomers within a few seconds.
Journal of Nanoparticle Research 13(9), pp.3885-3897