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A Journey Through the Landscapes of Small Particles in Binary Colloidal Assemblies: Unveiling Structural Transitions from Isolated Particles to Clusters upon Variation in Composition

Laboratory of Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Institute for Biomedical Engineering, ETH Zurich, Gloriastrasse 35, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
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Nanomaterials 2019, 9(7), 921; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9070921
Received: 10 June 2019 / Revised: 21 June 2019 / Accepted: 22 June 2019 / Published: 26 June 2019
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Abstract

Two-dimensional (2D) amorphous binary colloidal assemblies composed of particles of two different sizes are characterized by the loss of hexagonal close-packing for larger particles, occurring when the size ratio between small (S) and large (L) particles d S / d L exceeds a certain threshold value. For moderately low particle number ratios N S / N L large particles still retain a denser arrangement with transitions from hexagonal symmetry to the coexistence of different types of symmetries as N S / N L progressively departs from 0 to higher values. On the other hand, small particles reveal sparser arrangements: shape identification and quantification of structural transitions in small particle arrangements appear particularly challenging. In this article, we investigate their shapes and transitions for amorphous binary colloidal particles assembled at the air/water interface. For the quantitative characterization of the evolution in particle arrangements for N S / N L variable between 0.5 and 2, we develop an innovative procedure for morphological analysis, combining Minkowski functionals, Voronoi diagrams and ad hoc techniques to recognize and classify specific features. Such a powerful approach has revealed a wide variety of landscapes featuring isolated particles, dimers, chains, small clusters evolving with the colloidal suspension composition. Our method can be applied to the analysis of spatial configurations of sparse colloidal patterns obtained in different conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: binary colloids; colloidal monolayers; amorphous colloidal assemblies; air/water interface self-assembly; disordered colloidal assemblies; sparse colloidal assemblies; pattern analysis binary colloids; colloidal monolayers; amorphous colloidal assemblies; air/water interface self-assembly; disordered colloidal assemblies; sparse colloidal assemblies; pattern analysis
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Lotito, V.; Zambelli, T. A Journey Through the Landscapes of Small Particles in Binary Colloidal Assemblies: Unveiling Structural Transitions from Isolated Particles to Clusters upon Variation in Composition. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 921.

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