Web Published:

Researchers at Princeton University have developed a novel technique for formation of a new random bicontinuous silicate mesomorph with advantageous pore structure and overall morphology. Princeton is currently seeking industrial collaborators to commercialize this technology.


Most procedures for forming mesoporous silicates rely on the micelle-forming properties of a surfactant, typically at low concentration. The addition of an inorganic precursor, such as siloxane, leads to association and co-assembly into a liquid crystal precipitant. Subsequent polymerization of the inorganic precursor and removal of the surfactant results in a ridged silica shell in the structural shape of the liquid crystal. However, this method limits the ability to predict the liquid crystal structure and generally produces a powder of micrometer-sized particles, thereby limiting uses in filtration, optical or electronic applications where large area thin films or large uniform monoliths of material are required.


The new method produces large, water-clear monoliths that contain a random, bicontiuous pore structure. As opposed to silica xerogels and aerogels, there is little variation in the size of the pores, the pore dimension is readily selected, and the structure is physically robust. Additionally, characteristic pore sizes of 6 to >35 nm have been obtained and larger sizes appear feasible. Transmission electron microscopy images show a random pore network and BET measurements indicate surface areas between 375 and 525 m2/g.



Patent protection is pending.

For more information please contact:

             William H. Gowen
             Office of Patents and Licensing
             Princeton University
             5 New South Building
             Princeton, NJ 08544-0036
             (609) 258-6762
             (609) 258-1159 fax

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
John Ritter
Princeton University
Ilhan Aksay
Kathryn Mcgrath
Sol Gruner
Daniel Dabbs
Nan Yao