Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)

Fabrication of polyhedral particles from spherical colloids and their self-assembly into rotator phases.

PMID 25366869


Particle shape is a critical parameter that plays an important role in self-assembly, for example, in designing targeted complex structures with desired properties. Over the last decades, an unprecedented range of monodisperse nanoparticle systems with control over the shape of the particles have become available. In contrast, the choice of micrometer-sized colloidal building blocks of particles with flat facets, that is, particles with polygonal shapes, is significantly more limited. This can be attributed to the fact that in contrast to nanoparticles, the larger colloids are significantly harder to synthesize as single crystals. It is now shown that a very simple building block, such as a micrometer-sized polymeric spherical colloidal particle, is already enough to fabricate particles with regularly placed flat facets, including completely polygonal shapes with sharp edges. As an illustration that the yields are high enough for further self-assembly studies, the formation of three-dimensional rotator phases of fluorescently labelled, micrometer-sized, and charged rhombic dodecahedron particles was demonstrated. This method for fabricating polyhedral particles opens a new avenue for designing new materials.