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Patchy colloidal particles: a powerful arsenal for the fabrication of tomorrow new super-molecules . A theoretical and numerical study of their assembly processes (PATCHYCOLLOIDS)
Start date: Apr 1, 2009, End date: Mar 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

An unprecedented development in particle synthesis is providing methods to generate high yield quantities of nano- and micro-particles of different shapes, compositions, patterns and functionalities and an unprecedented diverse spectrum of particle patchiness, significantly extending the naturally available choices. These methods draw from the diverse fields of chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and materials science, and, in combination, provide a powerful arsenal for the fabrication of new particulate building blocks, the molecules of tomorrow materials, self-assembling into molecular-mimetic and unique structures, fluids, and gels made possible solely by their design.The new particles offer the possibility to go beyond the spherical interaction case, to move from the colloidal atom to the colloidal molecule --- providing valence to colloids --- and to further strength the analogies between colloids and globular proteins. The present theoretical and computational project aims at providingnew ideas for developing effective methodologies of bottom-up manufacturing, at providing the scientific community with the background necessary to fully control the self-assembly of these new building blocks as well as solutions to relevant condensed-matter physics problems. The project also aims at developing realistic models of DNA-functionalized nano and micro particles, presently the most promising and versatile building block of bio-colloid materials. Understanding the assembly of patchy particles will offer fine control over the three-dimensional organization of materials, as well as the combination of different materials over several length scales, making it possible to design a spectrum of crystal polymorphs and self-assembled ordered and disordered structures unprecedented in colloid science.

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