Supramolecular Colloidal Materials: towards programmable colloidal assembly for functional supramolecular materials


Colloids are indispensible building blocks of functional materials. A key challenge in the field of colloid chemistry is to achieve full control over particle interactions to modulate assembly pathways and precisely direct the microstructure and properties of the final material. Recently I introduced a novel approach bridging supramolecular and colloidal chemistry to meet this target. The strategy entails coating colloids with a mixture of 'fillers', such as stearyl alcohol, and supramolecular motifs, such as chiral benzene-1,3,5-tricarboxamide derivatives (BTAs) with a UV-labile protective group, to design what I coin 'supramolecular colloids'. In SuCoMat I now aim to expand and exploit this strategy to orchestrate colloidal self-assembly in multi-component mixtures with remote cues such as light and temperature. Hereto we will develop a platform of supramolecular colloids equipped with a wide suite of supramolecular functionalities that are photoswitchable, i.e., they can be reversibly cycled between an associative and non-associative state by light. Both the number and strength of light-activated associative units will be controlled to transition back and forth between fully reversible and kinetically controlled assembly to build up hierarchically structured materials with unprecedented complexity in three dimensions. Assembly and phase behavior will be monitored at the molecular and colloidal level by circular dichroism spectroscopy (via surface-grafted chiral motifs) and confocal microscopy (via fluorescent dyes incorporated in the colloid core), scattering methods, and rheology. The ultimate aim is to access predicted but so far inaccessible morphologies via spatiotemporal control over colloidal assembly in binary mixtures directed by photoswitchable supramolecular units that are selfcomplementary and/or heterocomplementary. In summary, within SuCoMat I aim to explore the limits of programmable assembly of supramolecular colloids into hierarchically structured functional supramolecular architectures, paving the way for the rational design and synthesis of novel soft materials such as sensors, smart packaging, composites, cosmetics, responsive coatings, and paints.


Wetenschappelijk artikel





Dr. I.K. Voets

Verbonden aan

Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Faculteit Scheikundige Technologie, Macromoleculaire en Organische Chemie


M. Gerth MSc, E. Giakoumatos, Dr. C. Guibert, Dr. I.K. Voets


14/09/2015 tot 13/09/2020