Fluorescent monodisperse silica ellipsoids for optical rotational diffusion studies

S. Sacanna, L. Rossi, B. W.M. Kuipers, A. P. Philipse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report on the preparation of monodisperse, fluorescent hematite-silica core-shell ellipsoids, with adjustable shapes ranging from spindles to nearly spheres, that are suitable for optical rotational diffusion studies. Hematite cores are grafted with poly(vinylpyrrolidone) which ensures colloidal stability during the silica coating provided by the base-catalyzed hydrolysis and polymerization of tetraethoxysilane. Using tetramethylammonium hydroxide as base instead of the volatile ammonia facilitates continuous seeded growth of silica to colloids with a desired aspect ratio. A convenient feature of the hematite-silica particles is the rapid dissolution of the iron oxide core by acid, producing hollow silica ellipsoids that can be optically matched to near transparency. The control of shape and size of the silica ellipsoids, their optical properties, and the fairly high yield in comparison to other preparation methods for nonspherical model colloids make the ellipsoids very suitable for quantitative studies. As a case in point, we have measured the rotational diffusion coefficient of fluorescent ellipsoids with rotational fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. Dye-labeled ellipsoids can be imaged with confocal microscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1822-1827
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 14 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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