Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Directed self-assembly of a colloidal kagome lattice

Abstract

A challenging goal in materials chemistry and physics is spontaneously to form intended superstructures from designed building blocks. In fields such as crystal engineering1 and the design of porous materials2,3,4, this typically involves building blocks of organic molecules, sometimes operating together with metallic ions or clusters. The translation of such ideas to nanoparticles and colloidal-sized building blocks would potentially open doors to new materials and new properties5,6,7, but the pathways to achieve this goal are still undetermined. Here we show how colloidal spheres can be induced to self-assemble into a complex predetermined colloidal crystal—in this case a colloidal kagome lattice8,9,10,11,12—through decoration of their surfaces with a simple pattern of hydrophobic domains. The building blocks are simple micrometre-sized spheres with interactions (electrostatic repulsion in the middle, hydrophobic attraction at the poles, which we call ‘triblock Janus’) that are also simple, but the self-assembly of the spheres into an open kagome structure contrasts with previously known close-packed periodic arrangements of spheres13,14,15. This open network is of interest for several theoretical reasons8,9,10. With a view to possible enhanced functionality, the resulting lattice structure possesses two families of pores, one that is hydrophobic on the rims of the pores and another that is hydrophilic. This strategy of ‘convergent’ self-assembly from easily fabricated16 colloidal building blocks encodes the target supracolloidal architecture, not in localized attractive spots but instead in large redundantly attractive regions, and can be extended to form other supracolloidal networks.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Colloidal kagome lattice after equilibration.
Figure 2: Stages of self-assembly of kagome lattice.
Figure 3: Crystallization of the kagome lattice.
Figure 4: A bilayer of parallel kagome lattices.

References

  1. Desiraju, G. R. Crystal engineering: a holistic view. Angew. Chem. Int. Edn Engl. 46, 8342–8356 (2007)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bartels, L. Tailoring molecular layers at metal surfaces. Nature Chem. 2, 87–95 (2010)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Yaghi, O. M. et al. Reticular synthesis and the design of new materials. Nature 423, 705–714 (2003)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Sun, Q.-F. et al. Self-assembled M24L48 polyhedra and their sharp structural switch upon subtle ligand variation. Science 328, 1144–1147 (2010)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Glotzer, S. C. & Solomon, M. J. Anisotropy of building blocks and their assembly into complex structures. Nature Mater. 6, 557–562 (2007)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Mann, S. Self-assembly and transformation of hybrid nano-objects and nanostructures under equilibrium and non-equilibrium conditions. Nature Mater. 8, 781–792 (2009)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Liu, K. et al. Step-growth polymerization of inorganic nanoparticles. Science 329, 197–200 (2010)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. van der Marck, S. C. Site percolation and random walks on d-dimensional Kagomé lattices. J. Phys. Math. Gen. 31, 3449–3460 (1998)

    ADS  MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Souslov, A., Liu, A. J. & Lubensky, T. C. Elasticity and response in nearly isostatic periodic lattices. Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 205503 (2009)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Atwood, J. L. Kagomé lattice: a molecular toolkit for magnetism. Nature Mater. 1, 91–92 (2002)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Schlickum, U. et al. Chiral Kagomé lattice from simple ditopic molecular bricks. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 130, 11778–11782 (2008)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Glettner, B. et al. Liquid-crystalline Kagome. Angew. Chem. Int. Edn Engl. 47, 9063–9066 (2008)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Yethiraj, A. & van Blaaderen, A. A colloidal model system with an interaction tunable from hard sphere to soft and dipolar. Nature 421, 513–517 (2003)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Gasser, U., Weeks, E. R., Schofield, A., Pusey, P. N. & Weitz, D. A. Real-space imaging of nucleation and growth in colloidal crystallization. Science 292, 258–262 (2001)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Anderson, V. J. & Lekkerkerker, H. N. W. Insights into phase transition kinetics from colloid science. Nature 416, 811–815 (2002)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Pawar, A. B. & Kretzschmar, I. Patchy particles by glancing angle deposition. Langmuir 24, 355–358 (2008)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Shevchenko, E. V., Talapin, D. V., Kotov, N. A., O’Brien, S. & Murray, C. B. Structural diversity in binary nanoparticle superlattices. Nature 439, 55–59 (2006)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Xia, Y., Yin, Y., Lu, Y. & McLellan, J. Template-assisted self-assembly of spherical colloids into complex and controllable structures. Adv. Funct. Mater. 13, 907–918 (2003)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Park, S. Y. et al. DNA-programmable nanoparticle crystallization. Nature 451, 553–556 (2008)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Nykypanchuk, D., Maye, M. M., van der Lelie, D. & Gang, O. DNA-guided crystallization of colloidal nanoparticles. Nature 451, 549–552 (2008)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Giacometti, A., Lado, F., Largo, J., Pastore, G. & Sciortino, F. Effects of patch size and number within a simple model of patchy colloids. J. Chem. Phys. 132, 174110 (2010)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Doppelbauer, G., Bianchi, E. & Kahl, G. Self-assembly scenarios of patchy colloidal particles in two dimensions. J. Phys. Condens. Matter 22, 104105 (2010)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Hong, L., Cacciuto, A., Luijten, E. & Granick, S. Clusters of amphiphilic colloidal spheres. Langmuir 24, 621–625 (2008)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Ghosh, A., Chikkadi, V. K., Schall, P., Kurchan, J. & Bonn, D. Density of states of colloidal glasses. Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 248305 (2010)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Liu, H., Kumar, S. K. & Douglas, J. F. Self-assembly-induced protein crystallization. Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 018101 (2009)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Grünbaum, B. & Shephard, G. C. Tilings and Patterns (W. H. Freeman, 1987)

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  27. Kraft, D. J., Groenewold, J. & Kegel, W. K. Colloidal molecules with well-controlled bond angles. Soft Matter 5, 3823–3826 (2009)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Li, C., Hong, G. & Qi, L. Nanosphere lithography at the gas/liquid interface: a general approach toward free-standing high-quality nanonets. Chem. Mater. 22, 476–481 (2010)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the US Department of Energy, Division of Materials Science, under award number DE-FG02-07ER46471 through the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For equipment, we acknowledge the National Science Foundation, CBET-0853737. We thank K. Chen for help with particle tracking.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

Q.C. and S.G. initiated this work; Q.C. and S.G. designed the research programme; Q.C. performed the experiments; Q.C., S.C.B. and S.G. wrote the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Steve Granick.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

The file contains Supplementary Figures 1-3 with legends and full legends for Supplementary Movies 1-3. (PDF 458 kb)

Supplementary Movie 1

This movie shows the breathing and vibration of a complete Kagome lattice assembled from triblock Janus spheres in aqueous 3.5 mM NaCl (see Supplementary Information file for full legend). (MOV 2500 kb)

Supplementary Movie 2

This movie shows the early stage of the assembly, up to an elapsed time of 140 sec, after NaCl (final concentration is 3.5 mM) is added to a sedimented suspension in deionized water (see Supplementary Information file for full legend). (MOV 12861 kb)

Supplementary Movie 3

This movie shows the later stage of the assembly, in the period 2.9 to 3.1 hr, after NaCl (final concentration is 3.5 mM) is added to a sedimented suspension in deionized water (see Supplementary Information file for full legend). (MOV 12037 kb)

PowerPoint slides

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Chen, Q., Bae, S. & Granick, S. Directed self-assembly of a colloidal kagome lattice. Nature 469, 381–384 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09713

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nature09713

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing