Dynamics in crowded suspensions of colloidal clusters (Marco Laurati)

Project Details


Products we use and enjoy every day, from paints to chocolates, contain colloidal particles. Colloidal particles are widely used in consumer products, but also in many high-tech applications including separation processes, sensors and
photonics. The interest in understanding how colloidal particles repel or attract each other, and how to control their ability to self-assemble into precise structures with well defined properties, has significanlty grown over the past decades. Colloidal particles self-assemble into structures due to the interactions among themselves and with their surroundings. An important challenge is to design and direct the self-assembly of structures to obtain materials with specific properties.

A particularly promising approach consists on creating super-structures based on building-blocks made of small, well-defined, colloidal clusters, whose binding affinities can be easily tuned through patches with specific interactions and a high degree of directionality. The nature of these superstructures will not only depend on the physical and chemical properties of the building blocks, but also on the surrounding conditions and preparation method. Despite the opportunities to boost revolutionary applications, efficient synthetic strategies to fabricate patchy particles with sufficient yield for large-scale production, are still at an embryonic stage.

This project aims to provide the underpinning science that will allow the rational design of nanomaterials with specific properties and optimise their performance in high impact applications for our society by investigaing the kinetics governing the self-assembly of colloidal structures into superstuctures.
Effective start/end date5/03/184/03/20


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