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Shape Matters : Visualizing the Self-Assembly of Anisotropic Colloids - Janne-Mieke Meijer

University of Amsterdam

The recent availability of rationally designed colloidal building blocks opens up new ways to study complex materials. At the same time, these colloids are of interest as the building blocks for the preparation of the next generation of functional materials with specific mechanical, optical or magnetic properties. However, a main challenge in colloid physics remains understanding the relationship between the colloidal building block properties and the order/disorder in self-assembled structures. In this talk I will show how studying colloidal crystal materials with both x-ray scattering techniques and quantitative microscopy is uniquely powerful for visualizing structural defects on a single-particle level. I will show how small shape changes from a sphere to a cube or a bowl leads to marked differences in phase behaviour, such as the appearance of plastic crystals, in which particles rotate on their lattice sites, and other unique dense packings. I will further address the influence of directed self-assembly methods such as solvent evaporation and electric fields on the crystal and defect structures of these anisotropic colloids.


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