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Materials 2017, 10(11), 1291;

Assembly Modulated by Particle Position and Shape: A New Concept in Self-Assembly

Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes, CNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Université Paris Diderot, ESPCI Paris, PSL Research University, 75005 Paris, France
Department of Energy of Conversion and Storage, Technical University of Denmark, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 24 October 2017 / Accepted: 4 November 2017 / Published: 10 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designed Colloidal Self-Assembly)
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In this communication we outline how the bespoke arrangements and design of micron-sized superparamagnetic shapes provide levers to modulate their assembly under homogeneous magnetic fields. We label this new approach, ‘assembly modulated by particle position and shape’ (APPS). Specifically, using rectangular lattices of superparamagnetic micron-sized cuboids, we construct distinct microstructures by adjusting lattice pitch and angle of array with respect to a magnetic field. Broadly, we find two modes of assembly: (1) immediate 2D jamming of the cuboids as they rotate to align with the applied field (rotation-induced jamming) and (2) aggregation via translation after their full alignment (dipole-dipole assembly). The boundary between these two assembly pathways is independent on field strength being solely a function of the cuboid’s dimensions, lattice pitch, and array angle with respect to field—a relationship which we capture, along with other features of the assembly process, in a ‘phase diagram’. In doing so, we set out initial design rules to build custom made assemblies. Moreover, these assemblies can be made flexible thanks to the hinged contacts of their particle building blocks. This flexibility, combined with the superparamagnetic nature of the architectures, renders our assembly method particularly appropriate for the construction of complex actuators at a scale hitherto not possible. View Full-Text
Keywords: self-assembly; magnetic systems; MEMS; microrobotics self-assembly; magnetic systems; MEMS; microrobotics

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Tavacoli, J.W.; Heuvingh, J.; Du Roure, O. Assembly Modulated by Particle Position and Shape: A New Concept in Self-Assembly. Materials 2017, 10, 1291.

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