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Tunable Assembly of Colloidal Crystal Alloys Using Magnetic Nanoparticle Fluids

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journal contribution
posted on 26.03.2013, 00:00 by Ye Yang, Lu Gao, Gabriel P. Lopez, Benjamin B. Yellen
We demonstrate a magnetic technique for assembling bidisperse and tridisperse colloidal particle fluids into a variety of complex structures with dimensionality ranging from 0-D (rings) to 1-D (chains) to 2-D (tiles). Compared with prior work on bidisperse particles that are commensurate in size, here we explore the assembly of different sized particles, and we show that due to packing constraints, new particle structures can be realized experimentally. Extending these experiments to a tridisperse system, we demonstrate that at low concentrations the smallest particle does not change the underlying crystal structures of the bidisperse system; however, it can assist in the formation of crystallite structures that were not stable in a bidisperse system. Additionally, we discovered that the smallest particle mimics the role of the ferrofluid, by shifting the locations in phase space where the bidisperse crystal structures can be experimentally obtained. Finally, we demonstrate that 3-particle crystal structures can be tuned by varying the strength of the external field, which is not possible in a 2-particle system.