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Special Issue "Designed Colloidal Self-Assembly"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Andrei V. Petukhov

Van ’t Hoff Laboratory for Physical & Colloid Chemistry, Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University; The Netherlands and Laboratory of Physical Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Interests: synchrotron studies; small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS); grazing-incidence small-angle x-ray scattering (GISAXS); colloidal crystals; colloidal liquid crystals; crystallisation; in-situ studies; x-ray microscopy; confocal microscopy
Guest Editor
Dr. Gert Jan Vroege

Van ’t Hoff Laboratory for Physical & Colloid Chemistry, Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Interests: colloidal crystals; colloidal liquid crystals; shape effects; directional interactions; magnetic particles; small-angle x-ray scattering (SAXS); external fields; theory of phase transitions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Self-organization of colloids is strongly affected or even driven by entropic interactions. It is a spectacular phenomenon which has attracted much attention in recent decades. Studies of colloid self-organization have enabled progress regarding fundamental questions relevant for materials science, such as nucleation, crystallization and jamming. Self-organized colloids provide large-scale templates to fabricate novel materials with unique optical properties, as well as materials for application in catalysis, sensorics and biomaterials. Increasingly, the field is inspired by biology where self-organization is one of the key principles.

This Special Issue is devoted to various techniques that allow designing colloidal assemblies with desired properties. To achieve that, one can tune interparticle interactions and use, for example, the interplay between short- and long-range interactions. One can vary the shape of the particles to change the symmetry of the colloidal assemblies. One can use patchy particles with direction-dependent interactions. One can use DNA adsorbed at the particle surface to induce specific interactions between colloids. One might also apply external fields such as electric, magnetic and/or shear fields to push the system towards the desired assembly. Finally, one can use anisotropic media such as liquid crystals to induce directional interactions between the dispersed colloidal particles. In these ways one can achieve spontaneous self-assembly of colloids into self-limiting 0D assemblies, linear 1D structures, planar 2D layers, and 3D crystals and liquid crystals. We hope that this Issue will contribute to the discussion of these and other techniques to design colloidal self-assembly.

It is our pleasure to invite you to submit a manuscript to this Special Issue. Full papers, communications, and reviews discussing the fundamental principles and applications of “Designed Colloidal Self-Assembly” are welcome.

Dr. Andrei V. Petukhov
Dr. Gert Jan Vroege
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • designer colloids
  • directed self-assembly
  • colloidal crystals
  • colloidal liquid crystals
  • particle shape
  • DNA-mediated interactions
  • external fields
  • patchy colloids
  • liquid crystal matrix
  • multi-dimensional assemblies

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Dispersions of Goethite Nanorods in Aprotic Polar Solvents
Materials 2017, 10(10), 1191; doi:10.3390/ma10101191
Received: 18 September 2017 / Revised: 12 October 2017 / Accepted: 14 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract
Colloidal suspensions of anisotropic nanoparticles can spontaneously self-organize in liquid-crystalline phases beyond some concentration threshold. These phases often respond to electric and magnetic fields. At lower concentrations, usual isotropic liquids are observed but they can display very strong Kerr and Cotton-Mouton effects (i.e.,
[...] Read more.
Colloidal suspensions of anisotropic nanoparticles can spontaneously self-organize in liquid-crystalline phases beyond some concentration threshold. These phases often respond to electric and magnetic fields. At lower concentrations, usual isotropic liquids are observed but they can display very strong Kerr and Cotton-Mouton effects (i.e., field-induced particle orientation). For many examples of these colloidal suspensions, the solvent is water, which hinders most electro-optic applications. Here, for goethite (α-FeOOH) nanorod dispersions, we show that water can be replaced by polar aprotic solvents, such as N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) and dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), without loss of colloidal stability. By polarized-light microscopy, small-angle X-ray scattering and electro-optic measurements, we found that the nematic phase, with its field-response properties, is retained. Moreover, a strong Kerr effect was also observed with isotropic goethite suspensions in these polar aprotic solvents. Furthermore, we found no significant difference in the behavior of both the nematic and isotropic phases between the aqueous and non-aqueous dispersions. Our work shows that goethite nanorod suspensions in polar aprotic solvents, suitable for electro-optic applications, can easily be produced and that they keep all their outstanding properties. It also suggests that this solvent replacement method could be extended to the aqueous colloidal suspensions of other kinds of charged anisotropic nanoparticles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designed Colloidal Self-Assembly)
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Open AccessArticle Mechanics of Pickering Drops Probed by Electric Field–Induced Stress
Materials 2017, 10(4), 436; doi:10.3390/ma10040436
Received: 5 February 2017 / Revised: 26 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 April 2017 / Published: 21 April 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (8228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Fluid drops coated with particles, so-called Pickering drops, play an important role in emulsion and capsule applications. In this context, knowledge of mechanical properties and stability of Pickering drops are essential. Here we prepare Pickering drops via electric field-driven self-assembly. We use direct
[...] Read more.
Fluid drops coated with particles, so-called Pickering drops, play an important role in emulsion and capsule applications. In this context, knowledge of mechanical properties and stability of Pickering drops are essential. Here we prepare Pickering drops via electric field-driven self-assembly. We use direct current (DC) electric fields to induce mechanical stress on these drops, as a possible alternative to the use of, for example, fluid flow fields. Drop deformation is monitored as a function of the applied electric field strength. The deformation of pure silicone oil drops is enhanced when covered by insulating polyethylene (PE) particles, whereas drops covered by conductive clay particles can also change shape from oblate to prolate. We attribute these results to changes in the electric conductivity of the drop interface after adding particles, and have developed a fluid shell description to estimate the conductivity of Pickering particle layers that are assumed to be non-jammed and fluid-like. Retraction experiments in the absence of electric fields are also performed. Particle-covered drops retract slower than particle-free drops, caused by increased viscous dissipation due to the presence of the Pickering particle layer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designed Colloidal Self-Assembly)
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Open AccessArticle Assembly of One-Patch Colloids into Clusters via Emulsion Droplet Evaporation
Materials 2017, 10(4), 361; doi:10.3390/ma10040361
Received: 23 February 2017 / Revised: 24 March 2017 / Accepted: 27 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
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Abstract
We study the cluster structures of one-patch colloidal particles generated by droplet evaporation using Monte Carlo simulations. The addition of anisotropic patch–patch interaction between the colloids produces different cluster configurations. We find a well-defined category of sphere packing structures that minimize the second
[...] Read more.
We study the cluster structures of one-patch colloidal particles generated by droplet evaporation using Monte Carlo simulations. The addition of anisotropic patch–patch interaction between the colloids produces different cluster configurations. We find a well-defined category of sphere packing structures that minimize the second moment of mass distribution when the attractive surface coverage of the colloids χ is larger than 0 . 3 . For χ < 0 . 3 , the uniqueness of the packing structures is lost, and several different isomers are found. A further decrease of χ below 0 . 2 leads to formation of many isomeric structures with less dense packings. Our results could provide an explanation of the occurrence of uncommon cluster configurations in the literature observed experimentally through evaporation-driven assembly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designed Colloidal Self-Assembly)
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Open AccessArticle Electric Field-Driven Assembly of Sulfonated Polystyrene Microspheres
Materials 2017, 10(4), 329; doi:10.3390/ma10040329
Received: 11 February 2017 / Revised: 8 March 2017 / Accepted: 21 March 2017 / Published: 23 March 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3885 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
A designed assembly of particles at liquid interfaces offers many advantages for development of materials, and can be performed by various means. Electric fields provide a flexible method for structuring particles on drops, utilizing electrohydrodynamic circulation flows, and dielectrophoretic and electrophoretic interactions. In
[...] Read more.
A designed assembly of particles at liquid interfaces offers many advantages for development of materials, and can be performed by various means. Electric fields provide a flexible method for structuring particles on drops, utilizing electrohydrodynamic circulation flows, and dielectrophoretic and electrophoretic interactions. In addition to the properties of the applied electric field, the manipulation of particles often depends on the intrinsic properties of the particles to be assembled. Here, we present an easy approach for producing polystyrene microparticles with different electrical properties. These particles are used for investigations into electric field-guided particle assembly in the bulk and on surfaces of oil droplets. By sulfonating polystyrene particles, we produce a set of particles with a range of dielectric constants and electrical conductivities, related to the sulfonation reaction time. The paper presents diverse particle behavior driven by electric fields, including particle assembly at different droplet locations, particle chaining, and the formation of ribbon-like structures with anisotropic properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designed Colloidal Self-Assembly)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessFeature PaperReview Generating Bulk-Scale Ordered Optical Materials Using Shear-Assembly in Viscoelastic Media
Materials 2017, 10(7), 688; doi:10.3390/ma10070688
Received: 3 May 2017 / Revised: 19 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 22 June 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1912 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We review recent advances in the generation of photonics materials over large areas and volumes, using the paradigm of shear-induced ordering of composite polymer nanoparticles. The hard-core/soft-shell design of these particles produces quasi-solid “gum-like” media, with a viscoelastic ensemble response to applied shear,
[...] Read more.
We review recent advances in the generation of photonics materials over large areas and volumes, using the paradigm of shear-induced ordering of composite polymer nanoparticles. The hard-core/soft-shell design of these particles produces quasi-solid “gum-like” media, with a viscoelastic ensemble response to applied shear, in marked contrast to the behavior seen in colloidal and granular systems. Applying an oscillatory shearing method to sub-micron spherical nanoparticles gives elastomeric photonic crystals (or “polymer opals”) with intense tunable structural color. The further engineering of this shear-ordering using a controllable “roll-to-roll” process known as Bending Induced Oscillatory Shear (BIOS), together with the interchangeable nature of the base composite particles, opens potentially transformative possibilities for mass manufacture of nano-ordered materials, including advances in optical materials, photonics, and metamaterials/plasmonics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designed Colloidal Self-Assembly)
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