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Issue 36, 2015
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Magnetic field assisted programming of particle shapes and patterns

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Abstract

Anisotropic particles have generated an enormous amount of research interest due to their applications for drug delivery, electronic displays and as micromotors. However, up till now, there is no single protocol capable of generating particles of “patchy” composition with a variety of well-defined and predictable shapes. To address this, in this submission we dispersed magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) in a non-magnetic fluid containing monomer and crosslinker. This solution was added to the surface of Teflon, which was submerged in the solvent 2,2,4-trimethylpentane. Under these conditions a round, stable droplet was formed on the Teflon. Upon exposure to a permanent magnet, the MNPs self-assembled into clusters with a variety shapes and sizes. The shape and size of the clusters depended on the magnetic field strength, which we controlled by systematically varying the distance between the magnet and the droplet. Interestingly, the shape of the liquid droplet was also influenced by the magnetic field. Upon polymerization, the MNP patterns and the droplet shape was preserved. We also show that very complex MNP patterns and particle shapes could be generated by controlling the distance between the drop and both a magnet above and below the droplet. In this case, the resulting patterns depended on whether the magnets were attracting or repelling each other, which was capable of changing the field lines that the MNPs align with. Overall, this approach is capable of generating particles with predictable MNP patterns and particle shapes without the use of any templates or complex synthetic steps. Furthermore, by using a sprayer (or similar approaches, e.g., ink jet printing) this technique can be easily scaled up to produce many complex anisotropic particles in a short amount of time.

Graphical abstract: Magnetic field assisted programming of particle shapes and patterns

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Jul 2015, accepted on 03 Aug 2015 and first published on 10 Aug 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5SM01820J
Citation: Soft Matter, 2015,11, 7151-7158
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Magnetic field assisted programming of particle shapes and patterns

    W. Xu, Y. Yao, J. S. Klassen and M. J. Serpe, Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 7151
    DOI: 10.1039/C5SM01820J

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

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      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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