Geometric curvature controls the chemical patchiness and self-assembly of nanoparticles

David A. Walker, Emily K. Leitsch, Rikkert J. Nap, Igal Szleifer, Bartosz A. Grzybowski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


When organic molecules are tethered onto non-spherical nanoparticles, their chemical properties depend on the particles' local curvature and shape. Based on this observation, we show here that it is possible to engineer chemical patchiness across the surface of a non-spherical nanoparticle using a single chemical species. In particular, when acidic ligands are used, regions of the particle surface with different curvature become charged at different pH values of the surrounding solution. This interplay between particle shape and local electrostatics allows for fine control over nanoscale self-assembly leading to structures with varying degrees of complexity. These structures range from particle cross-stacks to open-lattice crystals, the latter with pore sizes on the order of tens of nanometres, that is, at the lower synthetic limits of metallic mesoporous materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-681
Number of pages6
JournalNature nanotechnology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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