The Soft Condensed Matter group at UU was among the first to investigate both in experiments and simulations the self-assembly (SA) of nanoparticles (NPs) inside the confinement of slowly drying liquid emulsion droplets. The resulting colloidal crystalline ‘supraparticles’ (SPs) have sizes still in the colloidal domain, so that another SA step is possible. It was found that the spherical confinement influences the SA process in intriguing and important ways compared to bulk SA. Here we want to use the experience obtained and optimize binary and single (rod-like) NPs brought into SPs for photo-catalysis using high-index NPs specifically designed/optimized for water splitting as proof of principle. We want to make use of Mie resonances of the resulting SPs to locally enhance light fields strongly. We will also explore using E-fields in still liquid SP systems and to tune the shape of the SPs. Also in this project we will develop/explore/optimize a microfluidics approach to make SPs on a gram scale.
Project leader: Prof. Alfons van Blaaderen