Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 2016, vol 230pp. 58-65
Surface deposited layers of mesoporous silica particles could function as support for bio-sensing or drug release applications. It is crucial to control the surface deposition process and employ relevant techniques to characterize the properties of the particles on the surface. Here, we deposit SBA-15 particles on native silica or cationic surfaces and characterize the hydration and dehydration by employing a novel method based on humidity scanning quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (HS QCM-D). SBA-15 platelets are deposited with mesopores oriented parallel to the surface normal using drop deposition. SEM shows a monolayer on the surface, which is established as stable. Water sorption-desorption isotherms of the SBA-15 layer from HS QCM-D are compared with isotherms from water sorption calorimetry and nitrogen sorption on bulk material. We demonstrate that HS QCM-D provides results in good agreement with results obtained with the reference methods. The properties of SBA-15 particles are retained during the deposition process and unaffected by the presence of the surface. In addition, HS QCM-D is a fast technique that requires significantly lower amount of material (∼5000 times) compared to experiments on bulk material. HS QCM-D provides complete characterization of the pore size distribution of SBA-15.