Molecular control over colloidal assembly
Contemporary chemical and material engineering often takes inspiration from nature, targeting for example strong yet light materials and materials composed of highly ordered domains at multiple different lengthscales for fundamental science and applications in e.g. sensing, catalysis, coating technology, and delivery. The preparation of such hierarchically structured functional materials through guided bottom-up assembly of synthetic building blocks requires a high level of control over their synthesis, interactions and assembly pathways. In this perspective we showcase recent work demonstrating how molecular control can be exploited to direct colloidal assembly into responsive materials with mechanical, optical or electrical properties that can be adjusted post-synthesis with external cues.