Crystallization of nanoscaled colloids
Colloidal crystals can exhibit novel properties arising from the combination of particle properties and collective phenomena of particle packings. Particular colloidal crystals composed of nanoparticles are interesting, because of the unique properties of nanoscale objects, and because of the formation of three-dimensional structures on scales that can be manufactured using established methods only with great technical effort. The aim of this work was to develop appropriate ways to produce the crystals. Two approaches were chosen. In the first approach, colloid particles were deposited on surfaces in a process similar to dip coating. Large-area crystalline particle films with low defect density were obtained by an optimized deposition geometry. In the second approach attractive interactions between particles were used. Reducing the thermal energy induced agglomeration of the particles. This approach allowed production of a variety of particle structures. Besides the expected result, formation of hexagonal particle packings, unexpected results were obtained. In the first approach a superposition of two crystallization mechanisms ensured a robust formation of hexagonal particle packings. In the second approach crystallization among the particles was suppressed in a pure thermally induced agglomeration.