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Issue 3, 2012
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Self-assembly of 2D membranes from mixtures of hard rods and depleting polymers

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Abstract

We combine simulations and experiments to elucidate the molecular forces leading to the assembly of two dimensional membrane-like structures composed of a one rod-length thick monolayer of aligned rods from an immiscible suspension of hard rods and depleting polymers. Computer simulations predict that monolayer membranes are thermodynamically stable above a critical rod aspect ratio and below a critical depletion interaction length scale. Outside of these conditions alternative structures such as stacked smectic columns or nematic droplets are thermodynamically stable. These predictions are confirmed by subsequent experiments using a model system of virus rod-like molecules and non-adsorbing polymer. Our work demonstrates that collective molecular protrusion fluctuations alone are sufficient to stabilize membranes composed of homogenous rods with simple excluded volume interactions.

Graphical abstract: Self-assembly of 2D membranes from mixtures of hard rods and depleting polymers

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Publication details

The article was received on 27 Jun 2011, accepted on 11 Oct 2011 and first published on 07 Nov 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1SM06201H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2012,8, 707-714
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    Self-assembly of 2D membranes from mixtures of hard rods and depleting polymers

    Y. Yang, E. Barry, Z. Dogic and M. F. Hagan, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 707
    DOI: 10.1039/C1SM06201H

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