Supracolloidal helices from soft Janus particles by tuning the particle softness†
Because of the unique architectures and promising potential applications of biomimetic helical structures in biotechnology and nanotechnology, the design and fabrication of these structures by experimentally realizable anisotropic colloidal particles remain one of the most challenging tasks in materials science. Here we show how soft Janus particles self-assemble into supracolloidal helices with distinctive structural characteristics, including single helices, double helices, and Bernal spirals, by appropriately tuning the particle softness. We further examine the kinetic mechanisms governing the formation of different helical structures by using particle-based dynamics simulations. Our results provide a new way for experimentally fabricating structure-controllable supracolloidal helices solely from the self-assembly of soft Janus particles.