Swapping out hard-shelled nanoparticle models for the soft-shelled variety has led to theoretical results in tune with experimental findings for building supercrystal nano materials. These are fundamental new type of material that are built from nanoparticles displaying long range order. In the process of building, the nanoparticles interact, jockeying for position in the lattice. Whereas models of hard-shelled nanoparticles only clink against each other, the flexible exterior of soft-shelled nanoparticles makes their interactions much more complex. By using two soft-shelled nanoparticles with different diameters in the model, the results provide a general framework to predict the observed crystalline phases formed when building the nanomaterials. The researcher compared the model to the two most successful crystallization strategies: evaporation of solvent from soft nanoparticles and DNA programmable self-assembly. Research such as this enables more rapid development of new tunable nanomaterials and provides fundamental inroads into nanoparticle interactions.
Binary Nanoparticle Superlattices of Soft-Particle Systems