LNNano - Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory

Structural aspects and biological interactions of mesoporous silica modified with graphitic carbon

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Structural aspects of graphitic carbon modified SBA-15 mesoporous silica and biological interactions with red blood cells and plasma proteins

Diego S.T. Martinez1,2, João Paulo V. Damasceno3, Lidiane S. Franqui1,2, Jefferson Bettini1, Italo O. Mazali3, Mathias Strauss1

  1. Brazilian Nanotechnology National Laboratory (LNNano), National Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
  2. School of Technology, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Limeira, São Paulo, Brazil
  3. Functional Materials Laboratory, Institute of Chemistry, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil


Functional mesoporous materials have been worldwide studied for different applications. Mesoporous silicas are highlighted due to the synthetic possibilities for the preparation of such materials with different particle sizes and morphologies, and controlled pores sizes and structures. Moreover, the silica superficial silanol groups are explored in several chemical modifications, leading to functional materials with tuned functionalities and properties.

In this work, an organo-functionalization and pyrolysis synthetic procedure to obtain graphitic carbon modified mesoporous SBA-15 silica. The carbon content was tuned during the functionalization step, and the graphitic nanodomains were formed in the pores surface and particles outer surface. Textural and small angle X-ray diffraction analysis accessed the presence of the carbon nanostructures inside the SBA-15 mesopores. Advanced microanalysis using electron energy loss spectroscopy coupled to a transmission electron microscope had confirmed the carbon distribution along the silica pores, which gives higher hydrophobicity and changed the interaction of the mesoporous material with biological systems.

Finally, the influence of the surface modification with graphitic carbon species over the interaction with human red blood cells (hemolysis) and human blood plasma (protein corona formation) was elucidated for the very first time for this kind of functional materials. It was observed that the graphitic carbon species considerably reduced the hemolytic effect of the silica particles, and was responsible for modulating the loading and composition of the hard corona plasma proteins. This work deepness the fundamental knowledge on the interaction between such nanomaterials and biological systems, one step further the use of these modified silicas in biomedical applications.

Materials Science and Engineering: C

Direct Link: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.msec.2017.03.298