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Issue 3, 2013
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Design and folding of colloidal patchy polymers

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The creation of functional nanoscale materials with complex 3D structures has been achieved by biological systems e.g. proteins, but remains a daunting challenge in materials science. Recent progress in this direction has been made with patchy particles, which can be made to self-assemble into specific structures by fine tuning the numbers, locations and interactions of the patches. Here, we present a different, bio-inspired approach to create 3D objects from chains of patchy particles that fold into structures determined by the particle sequence along the chain. The particles linked in the chains are spherical with homogeneous weak repulsive or attractive potentials and symmetry-breaking patches that provide attractive directional interactions. We show, using computer simulations, that particle sequences along the string can be designed to steer the folding into specific target structures. Moreover, we introduce a scheme to discriminate configurations that present a golf-hole like free energy landscape, which inhibits folding, from target structures that are easy to design.

Graphical abstract: Design and folding of colloidal patchy polymers

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 Aug 2012, accepted on 18 Oct 2012 and first published on 19 Nov 2012

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26967H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2013,9, 938-944
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    Design and folding of colloidal patchy polymers

    I. Coluzza, P. D. J. van Oostrum, B. Capone, E. Reimhult and C. Dellago, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 938
    DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26967H

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