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Sheet-like assemblies of spherical particles with point-symmetrical patches

By E. Mani, E. Sanz, S. Roy, M. Dijkstra, J. Groenewold and W.K. Kegel


We report a computational study on the spontaneous self-assembly of spherical particles into twodimensional crystals. The experimental observation of such structures stabilized by spherical objects appeared paradoxical so far.We implement patchy interactions with the patches point-symmetrically (icosahedral and cubic) arranged on the surface of the particle. In these conditions, preference for self-assembly into sheet-like structures is observed. We explain our findings in terms of the inherent symmetry of the patches and the competition between binding energy and vibrational entropy. The simulation results explain why hollow spherical shells observed in some Keplerate-type polyoxometalates (POM) appear. Our results also provide an explanation for the experimentally observed layer-by-layer growth of apoferritin - a quasi-spherical protein

Year: 2012
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