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Anisotropic Self-Assembly from Isotropic Colloidal Building Blocks

Rey, Marcel; Law, Adam D.; Buzza, D. Martin A.; Vogel, Nicolas


Marcel Rey

Adam D. Law

Nicolas Vogel


© 2017 American Chemical Society. Spherical colloidal particles generally self-assemble into hexagonal lattices in two dimensions. However, more complex, non-hexagonal phases have been predicted theoretically for isotropic particles with a soft repulsive shoulder but have not been experimentally realized. We study the phase behavior of microspheres in the presence of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNiPAm) microgels at the air/water interface. We observe a complex phase diagram, including phases with chain and square arrangements, which exclusively form in the presence of the microgels. Our experimental data suggests that the microgels form a corona around the microspheres and induce a soft repulsive shoulder that governs the self-assembly in this system. The observed structures are fully reproduced by both minimum energy calculations and finite temperature Monte Carlo simulations of hard core-soft shoulder particles with experimentally realistic interaction parameters. Our results demonstrate how complex, anisotropic assembly patterns can be realized from entirely isotropic building blocks by control of the interaction potential.


Rey, M., Law, A. D., Buzza, D. M. A., & Vogel, N. (2017). Anisotropic Self-Assembly from Isotropic Colloidal Building Blocks. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 139(48), 17464-17473.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 20, 2017
Online Publication Date Nov 14, 2017
Publication Date Dec 6, 2017
Deposit Date Dec 5, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2018
Journal Journal of the American Chemical Society
Print ISSN 0002-7863
Electronic ISSN 1520-5126
Publisher American Chemical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 139
Issue 48
Pages 17464-17473
Keywords Colloid and surface chemistry; Biochemistry; General chemistry; Catalysis
Public URL
Publisher URL


Article (1.7 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of a Published Work that appeared in final form in Journal of the American Chemical Society, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review and technical editing by the publisher. To access the final edited and published work see

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