Self-assembly of doublets from flattened polymer colloids

Laura Mely Ramírez, Adrian S. Smith, Deniz B. Unal, Ralph H. Colby, Darrell Velegol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Bottom-up fabrication methods are used to assemble strong yet flexible colloidal doublets. Part of a spherical particle is flattened, increasing the effective interaction area with another particle having a flat region. In the presence of a moderate ionic strength, the flat region on one particle will preferentially "bond" to a flat region on another particle in a deep (≥10 kT) secondary energy minimum. No external field is applied during the assembly process. Under the right conditions, the flat-flat bonding strength is ≥10 × that of a sphere-sphere interaction. Not only can flat-flat bonds be quite strong, but they are expected to remain freely rotatable and flexible, with negligible energy barriers for rotation because particles reside in a deep secondary energy minimum with a ∼20-30 nm layer of fluid between the ∼1 μm radius particles. We present a controlled technique to flatten the particles at room temperature, the modeling of the interparticle forces for flattened spheres, and the experimental data for the self-assembly of flat-flat doublets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4086-4094
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 6 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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