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You are here: Home / Seminars / Experimental physics and modelling / Controlling flexibility and valence of colloidal molecules

Controlling flexibility and valence of colloidal molecules

Susana Marin-Aguilar (Utrecht University)
When Jan 30, 2024
from 11:00 to 12:00
Where Salle des thèses
Contact Name Thomas Gibaud
Attendees Susana Marin-Aguilar
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Colloidal molecules with anisotropic shapes and interactions are powerful models for unveiling the behavior of real molecules and can be used as building blocks for the creation of materials with designed properties. In particular, when the valence and flexibility of these molecules are well controlled, they can be considered as a first step towards the creation of so-called “soft robots”. In this talk, I will discuss that to achieve the previous goal, cubic and spherical colloidal particles can be assembled as colloidal molecules.

In the first part of the talk, I will use molecular simulations and experiments to show how to control the valence of the molecule by exploiting the anisotropy of the cubic particles and the use of opposite charges for assembling the molecule [1].  In the second part, both shapes will be functionalized with complementary DNA linkers to confer the assemblies with flexibility. I will show that a complex free energy landscape is induced by using different size ratios between spheres and cubes. As a consequence, below a critical size ratio, the colloidal molecules retain flexibility, where the spherical particles can move over the surface of the cube [2].

[1] Y. Shelke, S. Marín-Aguilar, F. Camerin, M. Dijkstra and D. J. Kraft. “Exploiting anisotropic particle shape to electrostatically assemble colloidal molecules with high yield and purity”. J. Colloid Interface Sci. 629, 322 (2023).

[2] Y. Shelke, F. Camerin, S. Marín-Aguilar, R. W. Verweij, M. Dijkstra and D. J. Kraft. “Flexible Colloidal Molecules with Directional Bonds and Controlled Flexibility”. ACS Nano 17 (13), 12234 (2023).