Asymmetric van der Waals forces drive orientation of compositionally anisotropic nanocylinders within smectic arrays: Experiment and simulation

Benjamin D. Smith, Kristen A. Fichthorn, David J. Kirby, Lisa M. Quimby, Derek A. Triplett, Pedro González, Darimar Hernández, Christine D. Keating

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Understanding how micro- and nanoparticles interact is important for achieving bottom-up assembly of desired structures. Here, we examine the self-assembly of two-component, compositionally asymmetric nanocylinders that sediment from solution onto a solid surface. These particles spontaneously formed smectic arrays. Within the rows of an array, nanocylinders tended to assemble such that neighboring particles had the same orientation of their segments. As a probe of interparticle interactions, we classified nanocylinder alignments by measuring the segment orientations of many sets of neighboring particles. Monte Carlo simulations incorporating an exact expression for the van der Waals (vdW) energy indicate that differences in the vdW interactions, even when small, are the key factor in producing observed segment alignment. These results point to asymmetrical vdW interactions as a potentially powerful means of controlling orientation in multicomponent cylinder arrays, and suggest that designing for these interactions could yield new ways to control self-assembly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-670
Number of pages14
JournalACS nano
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 28 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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