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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 14;109(7):2240-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1119301109. Epub 2012 Jan 17.

Assembly of reconfigurable one-dimensional colloidal superlattices due to a synergy of fundamental nanoscale forces.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, and International Institute for Nanotechnology, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.


We report that triangular gold nanoprisms in the presence of attractive depletion forces and repulsive electrostatic forces assemble into equilibrium one-dimensional lamellar crystals in solution with interparticle spacings greater than four times the thickness of the nanoprisms. Experimental and theoretical studies reveal that the anomalously large d spacings of the lamellar superlattices are due to a balance between depletion and electrostatic interactions, both of which arise from the surfactant cetyltrimethylammonium bromide. The effects of surfactant concentration, temperature, ionic strength of the solution, and prism edge length on the lattice parameters have been investigated and provide a variety of tools for in situ modulation of these colloidal superstructures. Additionally, we demonstrate a purification procedure based on our observations that can be used to efficiently separate triangular nanoprisms from spherical nanoparticles formed concomitantly during their synthesis.

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