Self-assembly of “patchy” nanoparticles: a versatile approach to functional hierarchical materials
The solution-phase self-assembly or “polymerization” of discrete colloidal building blocks, such as “patchy” nanoparticles and multicompartment micelles, is attracting growing attention with respect to the creation of complex hierarchical materials. This approach represents a versatile method with which to transfer functionality at the molecular level to the nano- and microscale, and is often accompanied by the emergence of new material properties. In this perspective we highlight selected recent examples of the self-assembly of anisotropic nanoparticles which exploit directional interactions introduced through their shape or surface chemistry to afford a variety of hierarchical materials. We focus in particular on the solution self-assembly of block copolymers as a means to prepare multicompartment or “patchy” micelles. Due to their potential for synthetic modification, these constructs represent highly tuneable building blocks for the fabrication of a wide variety of functional assemblies.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Celebrating the 2017 RSC Prize and Award Winners