Controllable synthesis of patchy particles with tunable geometry and orthogonal chemistry

Fuqiang Chang, Samia Ouhajji, Alice Townsend, Kanvaly Sanogo Lacina, Bas G.P. van Ravensteijn, Willem K. Kegel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Hypothesis: Self-assembly using anisotropic colloidal building blocks may lead to superstructures similar to those found in molecular systems yet can have unique optical, electronic, and structural properties. To widen the spectrum of achievable superstructures and related properties, significant effort was devoted to the synthesis of new types of colloidal particles. Despite these efforts, the preparation of anisotropic colloids carrying chemically orthogonal anchor groups on distinct surface patches remains an elusive challenge. Experiments: We report a simple yet effective method for synthesizing patchy particles via seed-mediated heterogeneous nucleation. Key to this procedure is the use of 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate (TPM) or 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl acrylate (TMSPA), which can form patches on a variety of functional polymer seeds via a nucleation and growth mechanism. Findings: A family of anisotropic colloids with tunable numbers of patches and patch arrangements were prepared. By continuously feeding TPM or TMSPA the geometry of the colloids could be adjusted accurately. Furthermore, the patches could be reshaped by selectively polymerizing and/or solvating the individual colloidal compartments. Relying on the chemically distinct properties of the TPM/TMSPA and seed-derived domains, both types of patches could be functionalized independently. Combining detailed control over the patch chemistry and geometry opens new avenues for colloidal self-assembly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Issue numberPart A
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021


  • Anisotropic colloids
  • Colloidal molecules
  • Heterogeneous nucleation
  • Orthogonal chemistry
  • Patchy particles


Dive into the research topics of 'Controllable synthesis of patchy particles with tunable geometry and orthogonal chemistry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this