Assembly of nanoparticles at fluid interfaces

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We investigate the mechanism driving the assembly of gold nanoparticles to the oil-water interface. More specifically we investigate how electrostatic interactions between the particles and between the particles and the interface can be employed to control interfacial assembly. The interface between two immiscible liquids, such as oil and water, holds promise as an assembly ground for organizing and exploiting the unique optoelectrical properties offered by nanoparticle arrays. The optical transparency of oil and water, combined with the dynamic liquid-liquid interface, makes colloidal crystals formed at fluid interfaces especially attractive. Moreover, the mechanical flexibility of the interface is amenable to forming a wide range of geometries - from planar sheets, to curved lenses, and three-dimensional objects- coated with nanoparticles. In nanoparticle-based plasmonic materials, for instance, the optoelectrical properties of the interfacial films can be tuned by interparticle separation, leading to rich behaviors at liquid-liquid interfaces such as the Stark effect, insulator-to-metal transition, and metal liquid-like films (MLLFs). A better understanding of the complex driving forces that direct nanoparticles to the liquid-liquid interface could allow for the external modulation of the interfacial assembly of nanoparticles. 

Papers:

Electrostatic interactions to modulate the reflective assembly of nanoparticles at the oil-water interface (Soft Matter)

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