Chain length of bioinspired polyamines affects size and condensation of monodisperse silica particles

Sai Prakash Maddala, Wei-Chih Liao, Rick R.M. Joosten, Mohammad Soleimani, Remco Tuinier, Heiner Friedrich (Corresponding author), Rolf A.T.M. van Benthem (Corresponding author)

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Polyamines play a major role in biosilicification reactions in diatoms and sponges. While the effects of polyamines on silicic acid oligomerization and precipitation are well known, the impact of polyamines chain length on silica particle growth is unclear. We studied the effects of polyamine chain length on silica particle growth and condensation in a known, simple, and salt-free biphasic reaction system; with tetraethyl orthosilicate as organic phase and polyamine dissolved in the aqueous phase. The particles at various growth stages were characterized by Cryo- Transmission Electron Microscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Thermogravimetric Analysis, Zeta Potential, and solid-state NMR analysis. Polyamines were found co-localized within silica particles and the particle diameter increased with an increase in polyamine chain length, whereas silica condensation showed the opposite trend. Particle growth is proposed to progress via a coacervate intermediate while the final particles have a core shell structure with an amine-rich core and silica-rich shell. The results presented in this paper would of interest for researchers working in the field of bioinspired materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number160
Number of pages11
JournalCommunications Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was carried out under project number C16033a in the framework of the Partnership Programme of the Materials innovation institute M2i ( and the NWO Domain Science, which is part of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (


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