We describe methodology for producing highly uniform, ordered and reproducible superstructures of surfactant-coated ZnS nanorod and nanowire assemblies, and propose a predictive multiscale “packing model” for superstructure formation based on electron microscopy and powder X-ray diffraction data on the superstructure, as well as on individual components of the nanostructured system. The studied nanoparticles showed a hierarchical structure starting from the individual faceted ZnS inorganic cores, onto which the crystalline surfactant molecules are adsorbed, to the superstructure of the nanoparticle arrays. Our results point out the critical role of the surfactant headgroup and polarity in nanoparticle assembly, and demonstrate the relationship between the molecular structure of the surfactant and the resulting superstructure of the nanoparticle assemblies.
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