Office for Technology Commercialization

Highly Ordered Macroporous Structures

Technology #99014

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Sample of Macroporous Alumina Producing the Metal Oxide ScaffoldingHighly Ordered Macroporous Structures
Andreas Stein, PhD
Professor, Chemistry, College of Science and Engineering
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Managed By
Larry Micek
Technology Licensing Officer 612-624-9568
Patent Protection
US Patent 6680013
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Macroporous Structures Term Sheet [PDF]

Unique Optical and Thermal Properties of Colloidal Crystals

Macroporous structures are a revolutionary breakthrough in highly-ordered porous three dimensional structures. Due to its high degree of order, the macroporous structures have unique optical and thermal properties. Of particular interest is that the 3D colloidal crystals resemble naturally occurring opals, making the technology practical for cosmetic applications. The three dimensional macroporous solids have excellent structure, periodicity, low density, a highly accessible surface, and compositional variety which make them ideal for applications in a variety of industries. The three dimensional macroporous solids have potential applications in battery materials, thermal insulators, composite ceramic materials, photonic crystals, cosmetics and catalysis.

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** View the Term Sheet **
** Contact Larry Micek for specific details. **

Scaffolds of Metal Oxides

Macroporous structures are created by first stacking nanosized latex beads (like oranges stacked in a grocery store) followed by applying a solution of metal alkoxides to fill in the gaps which harden around the latex beads. These latex beads and metal alkoxides are inexpensive and can be rapidly scaled. The latex beads form a scaffold for the metal alkoxide solution. The latex beads are removed with organic solvents or calcination leaving only the metal oxides with highly-ordered pores. The pores range in sizes from 30nm to 500nm which can be used for wide ranging applications.


  • Uses inexpensive precursors which can be rapidly scaled.
  • Versatile process can be used for metals, metal alloys and inorganic materials.
  • Can achieve a wide range of pore-sizes from 30nm to 500 nm for different applications.
  • Applications in battery materials, thermal insulators, composite ceramic materials, photonic crystals, and catalysis due to highly-ordered macroporous three dimensional structure.
  • Material resembles naturally occurring opals, making them practical for cosmetic applications.