When 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM Aug 22, 2013
Where South Atrium, Bldg. 10, NCRC
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Colloidal Structures Through Dynamic Self- Assembly

Antonio Osorio
Thesis Defense

Sharon Glotzer, Advisor

Self-assembly is one of the most promising routes for manufacturing materials and devices with nanoscale features. While static self-assembly, where structures do not require energy to maintain order, has been the focus of a large body of research over the past decade, self-assembly in driven systems and dynamic self-assembly is still in its infancy. With recent developments in experimental techniques, we can begin to consider the synthesis and fabrication of switchable building blocks that can dynamically switch between two or more states introducing dissipative dynamics into the self-assembly process, thus enabling a new generation of non-equilibrium materials and devices.

In this thesis, we use computer simulations to explore some of the new possibilities that arise from introducing switchability and non-equilibrium dynamics into the self-assembly process. These possibilities include the stabilization of novel steady-state structures, the enhancement of self-assembly speed and propensity, the ability to capture, or dynamically arrest, a pattern that was previously only available as a transient structure as the system evolved towards equilibrium, and the ability to dynamically tune the phase and length scale of the self-assembled systems by adjusting an external non-thermodynamic control signal. We characterize the systems to see how the non-equilibrium dynamics affect the resulting structures, and we study the energy dissipation in the driven systems to understand the requirement for maintaining far-from-equilibrium structures.