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Photocurable Oil/Water Interfaces as a Universal Platform for 2-D Self-Assembly



Jason Benkoski, Ronald L. Jones, Jack F. Douglas, Alamgir Karim


We present a novel platform for the creation of 2-D assemblies from nanoscale building blocks. The system consists of an oil/water interface in which the oil phase can be flash-cured upon UV exposure. The photopolymerizable material, 1,12-dodecanediol dimethacrylate, solidifies in as little as 1 s when exposed to UV light. The rapid crosslinking allows one to obtain a snapshot of the assembly process for particles that segregate to the oil/water interface. Among the particles investigated were 0.39 micrometer poly(methyl methacrylate) latex spheres, 10 micrometer polystyrene latex spheres, 5 nm Au nanocrystals, 10 nm CdTe quantum dots, and 25 nm magnetite nanoparticles. The agglomerates formed by this process were typically either globular or fractal in appearance. By comparing with simulation, we can perform quantitative image analysis on the resulting micrographs to establish a rigorous set of standards for distinguishing among flocculation, equilibrium phase separation, and true self-assembly.
Nature Materials


flocculation, fractal dimension, hierarchical, interface, nanoparticles, phase separation, photocrosslinking, Pickering emulsion, self-assembly


Benkoski, J. , Jones, R. , Douglas, J. and Karim, A. (2006), Photocurable Oil/Water Interfaces as a Universal Platform for 2-D Self-Assembly, Nature Materials, [online], (Accessed February 28, 2024)
Created December 14, 2006, Updated February 19, 2017