Effect of shape on the self-assembly of faceted patchy nanoplates with irregular shape into tiling patterns†
Recent reports of the synthesis and assembly of faceted nanoplates with a wide range of shapes and composition motivates the possibility of a new class of two-dimensional materials with specific patterns targeted for a host of exciting properties. Yet, studies of how nanoplate shape controls their assembly – knowledge necessary for their inverse design from target structures – has been performed for only a handful of systems. By constructing a general framework in which many known faceted nanoplates may be described in terms of four anisotropy dimensions, we discover design rules to guide future synthesis and assembly. We study via Monte Carlo simulations attractive polygons whose shape is altered systematically under the following four transformations: faceting, pinching, elongation and truncation. We report that (i) faceting leads to regular porous structures (ii) pinching stabilizes complex structures such as dodecagonal quasicrystals (iii) elongation leads to asymmetric phase behavior, where low and high aspect ratio nanoplates self-assemble completely different structures and (iv) low and high degrees of truncation transform a complex self-assembler into a disk-like assembler, providing design ideas that could lead to switchable structures. We provide important insight into how the shape and attractive interactions of a nanoplate can be exploited or designed to target specific classes of structures, including space-filling, porous, and complex tilings.