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We report a fabrication route of silica nanoparticles with two, three or six patches with an easily tunable patch-to-particle size ratio. The synthetic pathway includes two main stages: the synthesis of silica/polystyrene multipod-like templates and the selective growth of their silica core through an iterative approach. Electron microscopy of the dimpled nanoparticles obtained after dissolution of the polystyrene nodules of the multipod-like nanoparticles provides evidence of the conformational growth of the silica core. Thanks to the presence of some polymer chains, which remained grafted at the bottom of the dimples after the dissolution of the PS nodules, the solvent-induced assembly of the patchy nanoparticles is performed. Chains, hexagonal suprastructures and cubic lattices are obtained from the assembly of two-, three- and six-patch silica nanoparticles, respectively. Our study can guide future work in both patchy nanoparticle synthesis and self-assembly. It also opens new routes towards the fabrication of specific classes of one-, two- and three-dimensional colloidal lattices, including complex tilings.


Liu, Bin;  Exiga, Stephanie;  Duguet, Etienne;  Ravaine, Serge

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