Control of Nanomaterial Self-Assembly in Ultrasonically Levitated Droplets
journal contributionposted on 2016-03-15, 00:00 authored by Annela M. Seddon, Sam J. Richardson, Kunal Rastogi, Tomás S. Plivelic, Adam M. Squires, Christian Pfrang
We demonstrate that acoustic trapping can be used to levitate and manipulate droplets of soft matter, in particular, lyotropic mesophases formed from self-assembly of different surfactants and lipids, which can be analyzed in a contact-less manner by X-ray scattering in a controlled gas-phase environment. On the macroscopic length scale, the dimensions and the orientation of the particle are shaped by the ultrasonic field, while on the microscopic length scale the nanostructure can be controlled by varying the humidity of the atmosphere around the droplet. We demonstrate levitation and in situ phase transitions of micellar, hexagonal, bicontinuous cubic, and lamellar phases. The technique opens up a wide range of new experimental approaches of fundamental importance for environmental, biological, and chemical research.