Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 4, 2011
Previous Article Next Article

Electrostatics at the nanoscale

Author affiliations


Electrostatic forces are amongst the most versatile interactions to mediate the assembly of nanostructured materials. Depending on experimental conditions, these forces can be long- or short-ranged, can be either attractive or repulsive, and their directionality can be controlled by the shapes of the charged nano-objects. This Review is intended to serve as a primer for experimentalists curious about the fundamentals of nanoscale electrostatics and for theorists wishing to learn about recent experimental advances in the field. Accordingly, the first portion introduces the theoretical models of electrostatic double layers and derives electrostatic interaction potentials applicable to particles of different sizes and/or shapes and under different experimental conditions. This discussion is followed by the review of the key experimental systems in which electrostatic interactions are operative. Examples include electroactive and “switchable” nanoparticles, mixtures of charged nanoparticles, nanoparticle chains, sheets, coatings, crystals, and crystals-within-crystals. Applications of these and other structures in chemical sensing and amplification are also illustrated.

Graphical abstract: Electrostatics at the nanoscale

Back to tab navigation

Additions and corrections

Publication details

The article was received on 20 Sep 2010, accepted on 17 Nov 2010 and first published on 14 Feb 2011

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C0NR00698J
Citation: Nanoscale, 2011,3, 1316-1344
  •   Request permissions

    Electrostatics at the nanoscale

    D. A. Walker, B. Kowalczyk, M. O. de la Cruz and B. A. Grzybowski, Nanoscale, 2011, 3, 1316
    DOI: 10.1039/C0NR00698J

Search articles by author