Solvation dynamics in alcohols confined in silica nanochannels was examined by time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy using coumarin 153 (C153) as a fluorescent probe. Surfactant-templated mesoporous silica was fabricated inside the pores of an anodic alumina membrane. The surfactant was removed by calcination to give mesoporous silica (Cal-NAM) containing one-dimensional (1D) silica nanochannels (diameter, 3.1 nm) whose inner surface was covered with silanol groups. By treating Cal-NAM with trimethylchlorosilane, trimethylsilyl (TMS) groups were formed on the inner surface of the silica nanochannels (TMS-NAM). Fluorescence dynamic Stokes shifts of C153 were measured in alcohols (ethanol, butanol, hexanol, and decanol) confined in the silica nanochannels of Cal- and TMS-NAMs, and the time-dependent fluorescence decay profiles could be best fitted by a biexponential function. The estimated solvent relaxation times were much larger than those observed in bulk alcohols for both Cal- and TMS-NAMs when ethanol or butanol was used as a solvent, indicating that the mobility of these alcohol molecules was restricted within the silica nanochannels. However, hexanol or decanol in Cal- and TMS-NAMs did not cause a remarkable increase in the solvent relaxation time in contrast to ethanol or butanol. Therefore, it was concluded that a relatively rigid assembly of alcohols (an alcohol chain) was formed within the silica nanochannels by hydrogen bonding interaction and van der Waals force between the surface functional groups of the silica nanochannels and alcohol molecules and by the successive interaction between alcohol molecules when alcohol with a short alkyl chain (ethanol or butanol) was used as a solvent.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry