Triblock Janus colloids, which are colloidal spheres decorated with attractive patches at each pole, have recently generated significant interest as potential building blocks for functional materials. Their inherent anisotropy is known to induce self-assembly into open structures at moderate temperatures and pressures, where they are stabilized over close-packed crystals by entropic effects. We present a numerical investigation of the equilibrium phases of triblock Janus particles with many different patch geometries in three dimensions, using Monte Carlo simulations combined with free energy calculations. In all cases, we find that the free energy difference between crystal polymorphs is less than 0.2 kBT per particle. By varying the patch fraction and interaction range, we show that large patches stabilize the formation of structures with four bonds per patch over those with three. This transition occurs abruptly above a patch fraction of 0.30 and has a strong dependence on the interaction range. Furthermore, we find that a short interaction range favors four bonds per patch, with longer range increasingly stabilizing structures with only three bonds per patch. By quantifying the effect of patch geometry on the stability of the equilibrium crystal structures, we provide insights into the fundamental design rules for constructing complex colloidal crystals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry