Porous silicon (PSi) is a versatile matrix with tailorable surface reactivity, which allows the processing of a range of multifunctional films and particles. The biomedical applications of PSi often require a surface capping with organic functionalities. This work shows that visible light can be used to catalyze the assembly of organosilanes on the PSi, as demonstrated with two organosilanes: aminopropyl-triethoxy-silane and perfluorodecyl-triethoxy-silane. We studied the process related to PSi films (PSiFs), which were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), time of flight secondary ion mass spectroscopy (ToF-SIMS) and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) before and after a plasma patterning process. The analyses confirmed the surface oxidation and the anchorage of the organosilane backbone. We further highlighted the surface analytical potential of 13
F and 29
Si solid-state NMR (SS-NMR) as compared to Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) in the characterization of functionalized PSi particles (PSiPs). The reduced invasiveness of the organosilanization regarding the PSiPs morphology was confirmed using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and FESEM. Relevantly, the results obtained on PSiPs complemented those obtained on PSiFs. SS-NMR suggests a number of siloxane bonds between the organosilane and the PSiPs, which does not reach levels of maximum heterogeneous condensation, while ToF-SIMS suggested a certain degree of organosilane polymerization. Additionally, differences among the carbons in the organic (non-hydrolyzable) functionalizing groups are identified, especially in the case of the perfluorodecyl group. The spectroscopic characterization was used to propose a mechanism for the visible light activation of the organosilane assembly, which is based on the initial photoactivated oxidation of the PSi matrix.
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