Controlled synthesis of silica capsules: Taming the reactivity of SiCl 4 using flow and chemistry

L. Miller, Jeremy Steinbacher, Tania Houjeiry, Ashley Longstreet, Kendra Woodberry, B. Gupton, Banghao Chen, Ron Clark, D. McQuade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Monodisperse silica microcapsules are typically fabricated using hard templating methods. Though soft templating methods are known, none yet provides a fast and easy method to produce monodisperse capsules. Herein, we describe a mesofluidic strategy whereby monodisperse droplets of reactive silica precursors are formed using a snap-off mechanism via a T junction. Both the mesofluidic system and the composition of the reactive silica formulation are critical features. Using solid-and solution-state 29Si nuclear magnetic resonance, scanning electron microscopy, and optical microscopy, we have developed models for why some formulations form exploding capsules, why some capsules contain crystalline materials, and why some capsules have thin or thick walls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-102
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Flow Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 14 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • emulsions
  • materials
  • mesofluidics
  • microcapsules
  • silica

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Organic Chemistry


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