Debye colloquium - Prof. dr. Alfons van Blaaderen (SCMB)

Title: Self-Assembly of Supraparticles: A powerful general approach to structure matter on multiple length scales

Abstract: “There is plenty of room at the bottom” is a quote from a talk of Richard Feynman given in 1959 often used by those in the field of nanoscience to indicate the immense possibilities and opportunities if we would have the ability to manipulate atoms and molecules individually to build up new materials on the nanoscale. In this talk we will try to make the case that there is even much more room and there are even more opportunities if we start structuring matter not only at the nanoscale, but additionally on multiple length scales. Examples of such opportunities are the realization of materials with properties that originally were not yet existing in nature, such as materials having a negative refractive index or a complete photonic bandgap for light of a certain frequency range. We will show that slow evaporation of emulsion droplets filled with colloidal particles is a general way to arrive at materials organized at different length scales by self-assembly (SA) [1-7] and that subsequently the resulting supraparticles (SPs) can themselves be self-organized as well, creating a powerful multitude of structural and compositional possibilities. Additionally, we will show that both for single sized [1] and binary [2] dispersions of colloids interacting with a hard interaction potential SA inside a spherical boundary condition results in equilibrium phases with icosahedral symmetry and are thus different from bulk phases up until SPs composed of 100.000 particles! Deviations from a spherical shape can be used to induce directional attachment of the particles inside the SPs [3]. Next to many possible applications in fields like catalysis, sensing [4], lighting [5-7], structural colors, (nano)photonics [5-6] (including lasing [7]), quantum matter [3] and sustainability research in general, supraparticles have and are thus leading to new insights into fundamental questions in condensed matter science as well.

1) Entropy-driven formation of large icosahedral colloidal clusters by spherical confinement, de Nijs, et al., Dijkstra, AvB, Nature Materials 14, 56-60 (2015).
2) Binary icosahedral clusters of hard spheres in spherical confinement, Wang, Dasgupta, van der Wee, et al.Dijkstra AvB, Nature Physics 17, 128–134 (2021).
3) Interplay between spherical confinement and particle shape on the self-assembly of rounded cubes, Wang, Murray, Dijkstra, et al., AvB, Nature Comm., 8, 2228 (2018).
4) Determination of the positions and orientations of concentrated rod-like colloids from 3D microscopy data, Besseling, et al, Dijkstra, AvB, J. of Phys: Cond. Mat., 27, 194109 (2015)
5) Shape-dependent multi-exciton emission and whispering gallery modes in supraparticles of CdSe/multi-shell quantum dots, Vanmaekelbergh, et al., AvB, ACS Nano,9, 3942 (2015).
6) Composite Supraparticles with Tunable Light Emission, Montanarella, et al. Rabouw, Bals, Baesjou, Vanmaekelbergh, AvB, ACS Nano, 11 (9), 9136-9142(2017).
7) Lasing Supraparticles Self-Assembled from Nanocrystals, Montanarella, Urbonas, et al. Baesjou, , AvB, , Stöferle, Vanmaekelbergh, ACS Nano,12 (12), 12788-12794 (2018).


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