Crystalline sodium amide nanoparticles encapsulated in an amorphous silica framework were formed by ammoniation of a precursor material, silica gel loaded with metallic sodium, under mild conditions and without catalysis. This ammoniation was performed in situ on TOSCA beamline at ISIS, RAL, using anhydrous gaseous ammonia. The resulting material exhibits no pyrophoricity and much reduced air- and moisture-sensitivity compared to the bulk amide. The nanoparticles formed will offer a greatly increased surface area for chemical reactions where amide is currently used as an important ingredient for industrial applications. We anticipate that this method of sodium amide production will have a diversity of applications.
Ogilvie, A. D., Makepeace, J. W., Hore, K., Ramirez-Cuesta, A. J., Apperley, D. C., Mitchels, J. M., Edwards, P. P., & Sartbaeva, A. (2013). Catalyst-free synthesis of sodium amide nanoparticles encapsulated in silica gel. Advances in Chemical Physics, 427, 61-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemphys.2013.06.003