3 years ago

Self-Assembly of Mesophases from Nanoparticles

Self-Assembly of Mesophases from Nanoparticles
Abhinaw Kumar, Valeria Molinero
A growing number of crystalline and quasi-crystalline structures have been formed by coating nanoparticles with ligands, polymers, and DNA. The design of nanoparticles that assemble into mesophases, such as those formed by block copolymers, would combine the order, mobility, and stimuli responsive properties of mesophases with the electronic, magnetic, and optical properties of nanoparticles. Here we use molecular simulations to demonstrate that binary mixtures of unbound particles with simple short-ranged pair interactions produce the same mesophases as block copolymers and surfactants, including lamellar, hexagonal, gyroid, body-centered cubic, face-centered cubic, perforated lamellar, and semicrystalline phases. The key to forming the mesophases is the frustrated attraction between particles of different types, achieved through control over interparticle size and over strength and softness of the interaction. Experimental design of nanoparticles with effective interactions described by the potentials of this work would provide a distinct, robust route to produce ordered tunable liquid crystalline mesophases from nanoparticles.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b02237

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b02237

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