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Directed self-assembly and micro-rheology of colloidal Janus rods (SELFRODS)
Start date: Sep 1, 2013, End date: Aug 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Colloids with shape anisotropy and directional interactions promise to spontaneously assemble into a host of novel materials with unprecedented structures and properties, with bottom up control. Such colloids may display new physics in their crystallization, glass formation and gelation. They may in their self-assembly even show behavior analogous to (bio)molecules. These new building blocks are therefore increasingly attracting attention from materials science, chemistry, physics and biology. Due to the low yield of most Janus particle syntheses, studies on self-assembly have largely been restricted to single clusters in the dilute limit. This significant hurdle will be overcome by the high yield method we developed recently, and we propose to investigate bulk self-assembly of Janus rods, of which one end is magnetically functionalized . In particular, we will investigate the phase behavior as a function of volume fraction and size ratio of magnetic to inert part using 3D confocal microscopy. Furthermore, we will investigate how these particles respond to external magnetic fields and what novel structures, dynamics, and mechanical properties (probed by optical-tweezers-assisted micro-rheology) may emerge. This will for the first time extend the research scope of anisotropic Janus particles to topics that have traditionally been explored only for isotropic colloids.

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