Influence of non-hydrolyzable groups in silane precursor on pore dimension and photochromic properties of sol-gel silica embedded with a spirooxazine dye
In this work, silica embedded with a spirooxazine dye was prepared by hydrolysis of silanes that bear a nonhydrolyzable group of different structures through a sol-gel route in the presence of a spirooxazine dye, and the pore dimension and photochromic properties of photochromic silica coatings on fabric were studied. The pore dimension in the silica was examined by small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and nitrogen adsorption porosimetry. The SAXS results revealed that the distance between pores was in the range between 0.8 nm and 1.9 nm and it increased with increasing the size of the non-hydrolyzable group. Pore size measured by nitrogen adsorption porosimetry was in the range of 2.1-2.7 nm. The photochromic optical absorption was influenced mainly by the hydrophobicity of the non-hydrolyzable groups, while the color changing rates were influenced by the steric effect of the non-hydrolyzable groups and their interaction with the dye.