Micrograph of the March from the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

Each month, the ISGS Newsletter features an interesting and striking micrograph (or series of micrographs) chosen from a recent issue of the Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology or from unpublished sources such as PhD theses, etc (with full attribution given). If you know of any interesting images that might be suitable, please contact the ISGS Newsletter Editor for inclusion. The micrographs can be optical, SEM, TEM, AFM, etc, and a brief description of the samples should be provided.

This month’s images were again taken from two different papers in the latest issue of JSST and once again highlight the breadth of sol-gel science and technology, together with the areas in which our community is making an impact.

The first is taken from the work of Zhang, Wu, Yang, Sun and Zhang entitled “Preparation of SBA-15 mesoporous silica grafted with bissalicylaldehyde Schiff base for uptake of Pb(II) and Cu(II) from water” (JSST, (2021), 98, 170-182; https://doi.org/10.1007/s10971-020-05455-0), which explores the uptake of Cu(II) and Pb(II) on SBA-15 decorated with bissalicylaldehyde Schiff base. Micrographs a, b and c illustrate the structure of the as-prepared SBA-15, while d, e and f demonstrate that the structure remains intact after functionalisation with the Schiff base. Micrographs g and h show the elemental maps of the functionalised SBA15 after uptake of Pb(II) and Cu(II), respectively. The work confirmed that adsorption occurred on the functionalised monolayer, with good reuse and regeneration behaviour being observed.

The second series of micrographs is from the work of Cai, Liu, Li, Ni, Zhang, Gao and Jiang entitled “Facile fabrication of crystallized superhydrophobic hybrid coatings via solid-state hydrolysis/polycondensation of noctadecyltrimethoxysilane” (JSST, (2021), 98, 271-279; https://doi.org/10.1007/s10971-021-05500-6). This paper describes ordered nanohybrid coatings incorporating aligned n-octadecyl chains that demonstrate superhydrophobicity. The electron micrograph on the left illustrates the intriguing coral-like morphology of the coatings, while the optical micrographs on the right illustrate both the superhydrophobicity of the coatings and their self-cleaning properties.