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Colloidal Crystals and Entropic Bonding

Originally delivered Mar 10, 2021
  • Type:
    Archived Webinar
  • Level:
  • Duration:
    1 hour
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Entropy is typically associated with disorder; yet, the counterintuitive notion that particles with no interactions other than excluded volume might self-assemble from a fluid phase into an ordered crystal has been known since the mid-20th century. First predicted for rods, and then spheres, the thermodynamic ordering of hard shapes by nothing more than crowding is now well established. In recent years, surprising discoveries of entropically ordered colloidal crystals of extraordinary structural complexity have been predicted by computer simulation and observed in the laboratory.

Colloidal quasicrystals, clathrate structures, and structures with large and complex unit cells typically associated with metal alloys, can all self-assemble from disordered phases of identical particles due solely to entropy maximization. In this talk, we show how entropy alone can produce order and complexity beyond that previously imagined, both in colloidal crystal structure as well as in the kinetic pathways connecting fluid and crystal phases, and we show how methods used by the quantum community to predict atomic crystal structures can be used to predict entropic colloidal crystals.


Sharon Glotzer

Sharon C. Glotzer is the John W. Cahn Distinguished University Professor of Engineering, the Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and also holds faculty appointments in Physics, Applied Physics, and Macromolecular Science and Engineering. Since July 2017 she is the Anthony C. Lembke Department Chair of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan. Her current research on computational assembly science and...Read more

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