Research Abstracts Online
January 2009 - March 2010
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Institute of Technology
PI: Andreas Stein
Simulation Studies of Surfactant Assemblies Within the Confinement of Colloidal Crystals
Applications that involve host-guest interactions benefit substantially from the development of porous substrates. A combination of colloidal crystals and surfactants as templates provides a general means for producing hierarchically porous materials: macropores are templated from colloidal spheres and secondary mesopores on the macropore walls are formed by surfactant. In this regard, the arrangement of surfactant molecules within the confinement of colloidal crystals affects the architecture of the porous materials. A synthetic approach developed in the Stein research group has revealed that columnar mesopores can either run parallel to or nearly perpendicular to the spherical interfaces. The purpose of this project is to use computational methods to correlate the spatial relationship with surfactant-colloidal crystal interactions. Current work involves simulating the assembly of surfactant molecules on spherical surfaces and evaluating various factors, such as surfactant structure, surface affinity, temperature, and others, that affect the assembly behaviors. The simulation is then interpreted and optimized in the context of experimental results.
Fan Li, Graduate Student