Computational study of assisted assembly of colloids
Colloids are particles of about a millionth of a meter that, when dispersed in a solvent, may assemble into sophisticated structures and form materials whose properties can be exploited: gels, microcapsules for drug delivery, catalytic media. Most studies so far seek that particles spontaneously “self-assemble” into these structures at constant conditions.
This is the most straightforward and desirable route. However, a structure with desired properties is not always accessible via self-assembly. This research program plans to investigate how the assembly of colloidal structures can be assisted by dynamically manipulating the conditions in which the assembly process takes place.
The proposed research plans to investigate colloidal structures of technological or scientific relevance such as gels, vesicles and crystals, expecting to make important advancements towards the formation of these structures and the control of their properties. This will be done by means of computer simulations, vital to the design of new assembled colloidal structures because they enable the exploration of a large
parameter space before starting painstaking experiments.