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Complex Fluids Make Non-Spherical Particle Synthesis Easy!

Non-Spherical, patchy particles can be synthesized using liquid crystalline templates

General Overview: Small spherical particles with
uniform surfaces have important technical applications ranging from drug
delivery to paint additives. Although non-spherical particles, and particles
with patterned surfaces, have the potential to dramatically improve both the
performance and range of applications of particle-based materials, the
fabrication of such “patchy” particles has been difficult. A collaborative
study between
University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Chicago, however, has now led to the
discovery that liquid crystals (LCs), the same materials that have been used in
LC displays for
can form the basis of versatile methods to synthesize non-spherical, chemically-complex particles. In
particular, this team has used a combination of experiment and computer
simulations to reveal that chemically diverse nanoparticles can be positioned
at specific locations on the surfaces of LC droplets, and the LC polymerized to
create chemically patchy and non-spherical particles.