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Issue 16, 2014
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Design principles for Bernal spirals and helices with tunable pitch

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Abstract

Using the framework of potential energy landscape theory, we describe two in silico designs for self-assembling helical colloidal superstructures based upon dipolar dumbbells and Janus-type building blocks, respectively. Helical superstructures with controllable pitch length are obtained using external magnetic field driven assembly of asymmetric dumbbells involving screened electrostatic as well as magnetic dipolar interactions. The pitch of the helix is tuned by modulating the Debye screening length over an experimentally accessible range. The second design is based on building blocks composed of rigidly linked spheres with short-range anisotropic interactions, which are predicted to self-assemble into Bernal spirals. These spirals are quite flexible, and longer helices undergo rearrangements via cooperative, hinge-like moves, in agreement with experiment.

Graphical abstract: Design principles for Bernal spirals and helices with tunable pitch

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Publication details

The article was received on 17 Jan 2014, accepted on 17 Apr 2014, published on 22 Apr 2014 and first published online on 22 Apr 2014


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4NR00324A
Citation: Nanoscale, 2014,6, 9448-9456
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    Design principles for Bernal spirals and helices with tunable pitch

    S. N. Fejer, D. Chakrabarti, H. Kusumaatmaja and D. J. Wales, Nanoscale, 2014, 6, 9448
    DOI: 10.1039/C4NR00324A

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