Using anionic surfactants and co-structure directing agents, Che et al. recently reported a novel synthesis approach for mesoporous silica crystals. This method has given rise to a new family of mesoporous materials. Termed anionic surfactant templated mesoporous solids (AMS-n), the structural diversity encountered surpasses conventional cationic and polymeric templated mesoporous materials. Several novel structure types have already been prepared and have been resolved using electron crystallography in order to derive their porous connectivity. Further synthetic and structural studies conducted on these and related materials reveal the large potential of this preparation method to tailor porous and structural details such as; cage size, cage connectivity and defect concentration. More complex structures can easily be imagined and are being realised. Furthermore, these materials offer an excellent playground for the advancement of analytical tools dedicated to the study of porous solids. Within these, electron microscopy (EM) and electron crystallography (EC) based methods are emerging as the main tool with the capabilities to elucidate all of the necessary details, whether structural or porous to derive fundamental properties of these solids. Here we offer a short review of the exciting structural characteristics found in AMS-n and related samples.
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