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Interfacial self-assembly of SiO2-PNIPAM core-shell particles with varied crosslinking density

Ickler, Maret; Menath, Johannes; Holstein, Laura; Rey, Marcel; Buzza, D. Martin A.; Vogel, Nicolas


Maret Ickler

Johannes Menath

Laura Holstein

Marcel Rey

Nicolas Vogel


Spherical particles confined to liquid interfaces generally self-assemble into hexagonal patterns. It was theoretically predicted by Jagla two decades ago that such particles interacting via a soft repulsive potential are able to form complex, anisotropic assembly phases. Depending on the shape and range of the potential, the predicted minimum energy configurations include chains, rhomboid and square phases. We recently demonstrated that deformable core-shell particles consisting of a hard silica core and a soft poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) shell adsorbed at an air/water interface can form chain phases if the crosslinker is primarily incorporated around the silica core. Here, we systematically investigate the interfacial self-assembly behavior of such SiO2-PNIPAM core-shell particles as a function of crosslinker content and core size. We observe chain networks predominantly at low crosslinking densities and smaller core sizes, whereas higher crosslinking densities lead to the formation of rhomboid packing. We correlate these results with the interfacial morphologies of the different particle systems, where the ability to expand at the interface and form a thin corona at the periphery depends on the degree of crosslinking close to the core. We perform minimum energy calculations based on Jagla-type pair potentials with different shapes of the soft repulsive shoulder. We compare the theoretical phase diagram with experimental findings to infer to which extent the interfacial interactions of the experimental system may be captured by Jagla pair-wise interaction potentials.


Ickler, M., Menath, J., Holstein, L., Rey, M., Buzza, D. M. A., & Vogel, N. (2022). Interfacial self-assembly of SiO2-PNIPAM core-shell particles with varied crosslinking density. Soft matter, 18(30), 5585-5597.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 10, 2022
Online Publication Date Jul 11, 2022
Publication Date Aug 14, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 21, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 12, 2023
Journal Soft Matter
Print ISSN 1744-683X
Electronic ISSN 1744-6848
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 30
Pages 5585-5597
Keywords Condensed Matter Physics; General Chemistry
Public URL


Accepted manuscript (2.5 Mb)

Copyright Statement
©2022 The authors. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder

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