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Marjolein Dijkstra

Structuring Matter over Multiple Length Scales using Self-Assembly in Spherical Confinement: Crystals of Crystals of Nanocrystals

Wed, Apr. 26, 2023, 4:30pm
Taylor Auditorium, Frick Chemistry Lab B02
Host: Will Jacobs

In 1960, Feynman challenged us to think “from the bottom up” and to create new functional materials by directing and manipulating the arrangements of individual atoms ourselves. With recent advances in the colloidal nanoparticles synthesis and the bottom-up fabrication of nanostructured materials using colloidal self-assembly, we are tantalizingly close to realizing this dream. In this talk, I will show using computer simulations how one can use hierarchical self-assembly to structure matter over multiple length scales, which enables an unprecedented control over the properties and functionalities of these nanomaterials. The ability of colloidal particles to self-organize into ordered structures makes the prediction and design of these structures an important challenge for science. For instance, combining two types of particles, e.g., metal particles and silica particles, in a binary crystal gives unprecedented control for the creation of novel catalysts systems, plasmonics, etc. In addition, the fabrication of larger supraparticles [1-3] of these nanostructured materials using the self-assembly in the spherical confinement of emulsion droplets allows for a subsequent self-assembly step which provides opportunities for new functionalities like control over the porosity, plasmonic, and photonic properties. Finally, I will show how one can reverse-engineer the particle shape to stabilize highly exotic liquid crystal phases.