Colloidal suspensions of functionalized nanoparticles have been suggested for enhanced oil recovery, formation damage remediation, flow assurance, and water treatment operations. Surface modified nanoparticles can also be used as tracers in reservoir studies, active media in thermal management fluids, and fillers in high performance elastomers. Conventional functionalization of nanoparticles with alkoxysilanes and chlorosilanes is limited by needs for catalytic amount of water for the reaction to proceed, requirement of multiple hours to fully saturate the surface, and release of by-products upon reaction completion. Monolayer deposition with a high density of functional groups represents a particularly difficult challenge.
Our ongoing studies indicate that application of cyclic azasilanes that have a strained ring structure with adjacent Si and N centers provides highly efficient functionalization of hydroxylated silica, alumina, magnetite, and diamond nanoparticles which is catalyst-free and by-product-free. The data on synthesis and characterization of functionalized nanoparticles as well as possible reaction mechanism of functionalization will be discussed.
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