Materials Science

Stabilized Self- Assembly

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Science  25 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5555, pp. 587
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5555.587d

Colloidal crystals show tremendous potential in the areas of photonics and catalysis, because it is possible to create repeating structures with a tailored periodicity. A key to realizing this potential is the development of a fabrication technique that causes the colloidal particles to assemble in a controllable fashion into the desired structure. One approach is to use solutions of highly charged colloids in which the interparticle distances can be varied by adjusting the charge density through the addition of more particles. The mechanical strength of the crystals that form, however, is limited by the dispersion medium, and the crystals are highly sensitive to temperature and ionic impurities. Lellig et al. have overcome this limitation by the in situ polymerization and cross-linking of a polyacrylamide hydrogel to immobilize the colloidal crystals once they have assembled. The stabilized crystals were then used as a template for the electrodeposition of silver from solution, which formed a hexagonal array around the colloidal particles. — MSL

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.41, 102 (2002).

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