A tri-continuous mesoporous material with a silica pore wall following a hexagonal minimal surface

Yu Han, Daliang Zhang, Leng Leng Chng, Junliang Sun, L. J. Zhao, Xiaodong Zou, Jackie Ying

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations


Ordered porous materials with unique pore structures and pore sizes in the mesoporous range (2-50nm) have many applications in catalysis, separation and drug delivery. Extensive research has resulted in mesoporous materials with one-dimensional, cage-like and bi-continuous pore structures. Three families of bi-continuous mesoporous materials have been made, with two interwoven but unconnected channels, corresponding to the liquid crystal phases used as templates. Here we report a three-dimensional hexagonal mesoporous silica, IBN-9, with a tri-continuous pore structure that is synthesized using a specially designed cationic surfactant template. IBN-9 consists of three identical continuous interpenetrating channels, which are separated by a silica wall that follows a hexagonal minimal surface. Such a tri-continuous mesostructure was predicted mathematically, but until now has not been observed in real materials. © 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-127
Number of pages5
JournalNature Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 6 2009

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We thank C. Bonneau for discussion related to topology and minimal surfaces, and P. Oleynikov for software assistance. This research is supported by the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (Biomedical Research Council, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore), the Swedish Research Council (VR) and the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA). J.-L.S. is supported by a postdoctoral grant from the Carl-Trygger Foundation.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry


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