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Michael Engel: „Self-assembly of nanoparticles into complex ordered superlattices”
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

The advancement in the synthesis of nanoparticles and colloids opens up the possibility to use them as building blocks for self-assembling novel materials from bottom up. Ordered structures are especially interesting because they have unique physical properties. Furthermore, it is desirable to have a large pool of different types of crystal structures to choose from.

In this talk I will present various examples of how variations of nanoparticle interactions and shapes can be used to self-assemble ordered superlattices ranging from simple and periodic to complex and aperiodic. The results are obtained with Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics computer simulations using hard polyhedra and soft spheres with isotropic pair potentials. It turns out that the structural complexity is particularly high, when entropy and geometric constraints compete with locally dense or local low energy particle configurations.