Hierarchical self-assembly of chiral fibres from achiral particles

PRYBYTAK, P., FRITH, W. J. and CLEAVER, Doug (2012). Hierarchical self-assembly of chiral fibres from achiral particles. Interface Focus, 2 (5), 651-657.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2011.0104
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2011.0104


We investigate, by molecular dynamics simulation, the behaviour of discotic particles in a solvent of Lennard-Jones spheres. When chromonic disc–sphere interactions are imposed on these systems, three regimes of self-assembly are observed. At moderate temperatures, numerous short threads of discs develop, but these threads remain isolated from one another. Quenching to low temperatures, alternatively, causes all of the discs to floc into a single extended aggregate which typically comprises several distinct sections and contains numerous packing defects. For a narrow temperature range between these regimes, however, defect-free chiral fibres are found to freely self-assemble. The spontaneous chirality of these fibres results from frustration between the hexagonal packing and interdigitation of neighbouring threads, the pitch being set by the particle shape. This demonstration of aggregate-wide chirality emerging owing to packing alone is pertinent to many biological and synthetic hierarchically self-assembling systems.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Materials and Engineering Research Institute > Modelling Research Centre > Materials Modelling group
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsfs.2011.0104
Page Range: 651-657
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2012 15:21
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 20:00
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6384

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