Shape and interaction decoupling for colloidal preassembly

Lucia Baldauf, Erin G. Teich, Peter Schall, Greg van Anders*, Laura Rossi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Creating materials with structure that is independently controllable at a range of scales requires breaking naturally occurring hierarchies. Breaking these hierarchies can be achieved via the decoupling of building block attributes from structure during assembly. Here, we demonstrate, through computer simulations and experiments, that shape and interaction decoupling occur in colloidal cuboids suspended in evaporating emulsion droplets. The resulting colloidal clusters serve as “preassembled” mesoscale building blocks for larger-scale structures. We show that clusters of up to nine particles form mesoscale building blocks with geometries that are independent of the particles’ degree of faceting and dipolar magnetic interactions. To highlight the potential of these superball clusters for hierarchical assembly, we demonstrate, using computer simulations, that clusters of six to nine particles can assemble into high-order structures that differ from bulk self-assembly of individual particles. Our results suggest that preassembled building blocks present a viable route to hierarchical materials design.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereabm0548
JournalScience Advances
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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