Shape preserving conversion reaction of siliceous structures using metal halides: properties, kinetics, and potential applications
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BaSIC, which stands for Bioclastic and Shape-preserving Inorganic Conversion, is shape-preserving chemical conversion process of biological (or man-made) silica structures for producing complex 3-D microscale structures. This dissertation reports the BaSIC reaction of halide gases (i.e., TiF4, ZrF4, and ZrCl4) with 3-D silica structures, (i.e., diatom frustules, silicified direct-write assembly scaffolds, and Stöber silica spheres) to produce titania and zirconia replicas of the original 3-D structures. The kinetics of reaction of silica with titanium tetrafluoride gas is analyzed by using a novel HTXRD reaction chamber, nitrogen adsorption, and transmission electron microscope (TEM). The crystal structure and the temperature-induced phase transformation (from the room temperature hexagonal R-3c structure to the higher temperature cubic Pm3m structure) of polycrystalline TiOF2 that was synthesized through metathetic reaction of silica with TiF4(g) is reported. Additionally, potential applications of the converted titania diatom frustules (i.e., as a fast micron-sized ethanol sensor, and as a pesticide hydrolyzing agent) are also demonstrated in this work.