Self-Assemby of Sub-10 nm Particles
We are developing a predictive computational platform and an in situ characterization approach to understand the mechanisms of directed self-assembly (DSA) of sub-10 nm particles (SNP) into any desired pattern, and controlling it at interfaces with single particle resolution. DSA at multiphase interfaces are widely utilized for nanofabrication of novel devices in emerging fields such as nanosensing, nanoelectronics, and nanobiotechnology. Novel materials for future nanotechnology will have to self-assemble without intervension. In that regard, DSA will be very advantageous (see other movies below).
We are also looking at the kinetics of individual nanoparticles as they are trapped in the nanocavities. Top and side view of a tracer particle shown in blue in Movie 3 indicate the importance of the random motion as the nanoparticle clearly misses few nanocavities before it is ultimately trapped. Furthermore, the side view shows the preference of the tracer nanoparticle to come out of the trap, yet its way is blocked by other nanopartiles that have not been trapped. Overall, the tracer nanoparticle follows a resonant kinetics, exploring in and out of the nanocavity very frequently until it is eventually fixed in place by the receding contact line.