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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)