Self-limited, or terminal, supraparticles have long received great interest because of their abundance in biological systems (DNA bundles and virus capsids) and their potential use in a host of applications ranging from photonics and catalysis to encapsulation for drug delivery. Moreover, soft, uniform colloidal aggregates are a promising candidate for quasicrystal and other hierarchical assemblies. In this work, we present a generic coarse-grained model that captures the formation of self-limited assemblies observed in various soft-matter systems including nanoparticles, colloids, and polyelectrolytes. Using molecular dynamics simulations, we demonstrate that the assembly process is self-limited when the repulsion between the particles is renormalized to balance their attraction during aggregation. The uniform finite-sized aggregates are further shown to be thermodynamically stable and tunable with a single dimensionless parameter. We find large aggregates self-organize internally into a core-shell morphology and exhibit anomalous uniformity when the constituent nanoparticles have a polydisperse size distribution.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 23 2015|
- Self-limited aggregation
- Terminal assemblies
ASJC Scopus subject areas