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Site-specific colloidal crystal nucleation by template-enhanced particle transport

Mishra, Chandan K and Sood, AK and Ganapathy, Rajesh (2016) Site-specific colloidal crystal nucleation by template-enhanced particle transport. In: PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 113 (43). pp. 12094-12098.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1608568113


The monomer surface mobility is the single most important parameter that decides the nucleation density and morphology of islands during thin-film growth. During template-assisted surface growth in particular, low surface mobilities can prevent monomers from reaching target sites and this results in a partial to complete loss of nucleation control. Whereas in atomic systems a broad range of surface mobilities can be readily accessed, for colloids, owing to their large size, this window is substantially narrow and therefore imposes severe restrictions in extending template-assisted growth techniques to steer their self-assembly. Here, we circumvented this fundamental limitation by designing templates with spatially varying feature sizes, in this case moire patterns, which in the presence of short-range depletion attraction presented surface energy gradients for the diffusing colloids. The templates serve a dual purpose: first, directing the particles to target sites by enhancing their surface mean-free paths and second, dictating the size and symmetry of the growing crystallites. Using optical microscopy, we directly followed the nucleation and growth kinetics of colloidal islands on these surfaces at the single-particle level. We demonstrate nucleation control, with high fidelity, in a regime that has remained unaccessed in theoretical, numerical, and experimental studies on atoms and molecules as well. Our findings pave the way for fabricating nontrivial surface architectures composed of complex colloids and nanoparticles as well.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs tom the NATL ACAD SCIENCES, 2101 CONSTITUTION AVE NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20418 USA
Department/Centre: Division of Physical & Mathematical Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Id for Latest eprints
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2016 10:11
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2016 10:11
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/55409

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