University of Cambridge > > Materials Chemistry Research Interest Group > Predicting and designing the self-assembly of colloidal particles: a computer game

Predicting and designing the self-assembly of colloidal particles: a computer game

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The ability of atomic, colloidal, and nanoparticles to self-organize into highly ordered crystalline structures makes the prediction of crystal structures in these systems an important challenge for science. The question itself is deceivingly simple: assuming that the underlying interaction between constituent particles is known, which crystal structures are stable. In this talk, I will describe a Monte Carlo simulation method [1] combined with a triangular tesselation method [2] to describe the surface of arbitrarily shaped particles that can be employed to predict close-packed crystal structures in colloidal hard-particle systems. I will show that particle shape alone can give rise to a wide variety of structures with unusual properties [3-7], e.g., photonic band gap structures or highly diffusive crystals, but combining the choice of particle shape with external fields, like confinement [4], can enlarge the number of possible structures even more.

This talk is part of the Materials Chemistry Research Interest Group series.

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