Unraveling the Formation Mechanism of Dendritic Fibrous Nanosilica

We studied the formation mechanism of dendritic fibrous nanosilica (DFNS) that involves several intriguing dynamical steps. Through electron microscopy and real-time small-angle X-ray scattering studies, it has been demonstrated that the structural evolution of bicontinuous microemulsion droplets (BMDs) and their subsequent coalescence, yielding nanoreactor template, is responsible for to the formation of complex DFNS morphology. The role of cosurfactant has been found to be quite crucial, which allowed the understanding of this intricate mechanism involving the complex interplay of self-assembly, dynamics of BMDs formation, and coalescence. The role of BMDs in formation of DFNS has not been reported so far and the present work allows a deeper molecular-level understanding of DFNS formation.