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Issue 19, 2011
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Templated self-assembly in three dimensions using magnetic levitation

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Abstract

Although self-assembly (SA) in two dimensions (2D) is highly developed (especially using surfaces as a templates), SA in three dimensions (3D) has been more difficult. This paper describes a strategy for SA in 3D of diamagnetic plastic objects (mm- to cm-sized in this work, but in principle in sizes from ∼10 μm to m) supported in a paramagnetic fluid by a non-uniform magnetic field. The magnetic field and its gradient levitate the objects, template their self-assembly, and influence the shape of the assembled cluster. The structure of the 3D assembling objects can be further directed using hard mechanical templates—either the walls of the container or co-levitating components—which coincide spatially with the soft template of the magnetic field gradient. Mechanical agitation anneals the levitating clusters; the addition of photocurable adhesive, followed by UV illumination, can permanently fuse components together.

Graphical abstract: Templated self-assembly in three dimensions using magnetic levitation

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 May 2011, accepted on 22 Jul 2011 and first published on 12 Aug 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1SM05962A
Citation: Soft Matter, 2011,7, 9113-9118
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    Templated self-assembly in three dimensions using magnetic levitation

    F. Ilievski, K. A. Mirica, A. K. Ellerbee and G. M. Whitesides, Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 9113
    DOI: 10.1039/C1SM05962A

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