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Issue 9, 2018
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Valence, loop formation and universality in self-assembling patchy particles

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Patchy particles have emerged as an attractive model to mimic phase separation and self-assembly of globular proteins solutions, colloidal patchy particles, and molecular fluids where directional interactions are operative. In our previous work, we extensively explored the coupling of directional and isotropic interactions on both the phase separation and self-assembly in a system of patchy particles with five spots. Here, we extend this work to consider different patch valences and isotropic interaction strengths with an emphasis on self-assembly. Although the location of self-assembly transition lines in the temperature–density plane depend on a number of parameters, we find universal behavior of cluster size that is dependent only on the probability of a spot being bound, the patch valence, and the density. Using these principles, we quantify both the mass distribution and the shape for all clusters, as well as clusters containing loops. Following the logical implications of these results, combined with a simplified version of a mean-field theory that incorporates Flory–Stockmayer theory, we find a universal curve for the temperature dependence of cluster mass and a universal curve for the fraction of clusters that contain loops. As the curves are dependent on the particle valence, such results provide a method for parameterizing patchy particle models using experimental data.

Graphical abstract: Valence, loop formation and universality in self-assembling patchy particles

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Dec 2017, accepted on 31 Jan 2018 and first published on 31 Jan 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02419C
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018,14, 1622-1630

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    Valence, loop formation and universality in self-assembling patchy particles

    D. J. Audus, F. W. Starr and J. F. Douglas, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 1622
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02419C

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