Assembly of nothing: equilibrium fluids with designed structured porosity†
Controlled micro- to meso-scale porosity is a common materials design goal with possible applications ranging from molecular gas adsorption to particle size selective permeability or solubility. Here, we use inverse methods of statistical mechanics to design an isotropic pair interaction that, in the absence of an external field, assembles particles into an inhomogeneous fluid matrix surrounding pores of prescribed size ordered in a lattice morphology. The pore size can be tuned via modification of temperature or particle concentration. Moreover, modulating density reveals a rich series of microphase-separated morphologies including pore- or particle-based lattices, pore- or particle-based columns, and bicontinuous or lamellar structures. Sensitivity of pore assembly to the form of the designed interaction potential is explored.