Self-assembly of patchy particles and colloidal "molecules": Insights from in silico

COLL 596

Sharon C. Glotzer, sglotzer@umich.edu, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2300 Hayward Street, 3406 G.G. Brown Bldg, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2136
Recent advances in colloidal synthesis make it possible to consider engineering colloidal particles as building blocks for new materials and devices. Colloids can now be fabricated with anisotropic interactions due to shape, functionalization, or surface patterning, and genetic and molecular engineering of biomolecules and macromolecules has opened up new possibilities for conferring recognition and chemical specificity to interparticle interactions. In this talk we present insights from computer simulations of “patchy particles” – colloidal particles decorated with patches of attractive molecules whose interactions facilitate self-assembly of the particles into ordered one-, two- and three-dimensional structures. Using simulation, we explore how the pattern of patches and particle shape affect assembly, and identify design rules for assembly of target structures. We discuss the extent to which patchy particles may be considered as colloidal molecules for self assembly, and investigate how the rules for assembly change as building block size decreases from microns to nanometers.