Magnetic field–driven assembly and reconfiguration of multicomponent supraparticles

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Science Advances  08 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 19, eaba5337
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba5337


Suprastructures at the colloidal scale must be assembled with precise control over local interactions to accurately mimic biological complexes. The toughest design requirements include breaking the symmetry of assembly in a simple and reversible fashion to unlock functions and properties so far limited to living matter. We demonstrate a simple experimental technique to program magnetic field–induced interactions between metallodielectric patchy particles and isotropic, nonmagnetic “satellite” particles. By controlling the connectivity, composition, and distribution of building blocks, we show the assembly of three-dimensional, multicomponent supraparticles that can dynamically reconfigure in response to change in external field strength. The local arrangement of building blocks and their reconfigurability are governed by a balance of attraction and repulsion between oppositely polarized domains, which we illustrate theoretically and tune experimentally. Tunable, bulk assembly of colloidal matter with predefined symmetry provides a platform to design functional microstructured materials with preprogrammable physical and chemical properties.

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