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Self-Assembly of Cubes into 2D Hexagonal and Honeycomb Lattices by Hexapolar Capillary Interactions

By G. Soligno, M. Dijkstra and R.H.H.G. van Roij


Particles adsorbed at a fluid-fluid interface induce capillary deformations that determine their orientations and generate mutual capillary interactions which drive them to assemble into 2D ordered structures. We numerically calculate, by energy minimization, the capillary deformations induced by adsorbed cubes for various Young’s contact angles. First, we show that capillarity is crucial not only for quantitative, but also for qualitative predictions of equilibrium configurations of a single cube. For a Young’s contact angle close to 90°, we show that a single-adsorbed cube generates a hexapolar interface deformation with three rises and three depressions. Thanks to the threefold symmetry of this hexapole, strongly directional capillary interactions drive the cubes to self-assemble into hexagonal or graphenelike honeycomb lattices. By a simple free-energy model, we predict a density-temperature phase diagram in which both the honeycomb and hexagonal lattice phases are present as stable states

Year: 2016
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