Colloidal particles are objects with at least one dimension in the size range of approximately a few nanometers to a few micrometers. Colloidal systems are ubiquitous and can be found in our daily life. For instance, colloids occur naturally as water droplets dispersed in air resulting in clouds, or as fat globules and small protein spheres in water in milk.
In the lab, colloidal particles can be made in various shapes and of different materials. Spheres are the simplest shape, but more complex particles in the form of cubes, rods and particles with multiple lobes, resembling for example a ‘snowman’ shape, can also be produced. These particles can then be used as building blocks to build up larger structures for potential applications in electronics, optics and mechanics.
To assemble the particles into well-defined structures we need to be able to control the interactions between them, and how the interactions depend on the orientation of the particles. This has been the main aim of this PhD thesis.
In this thesis, we synthesized particles that can be used for directional assembly. In the Part 1, we focus on the preparation of particles featuring different functionality and anisotropic shapes. In Part 2, we transfer these particles to liquid-liquid interfaces to investigate how particles behave in a confined environment.