May 27 – 30, 2015
Mariehamn, Åland
Europe/Stockholm timezone

Defects in Self-assembled Bilayers: Tomographic Characterisation and Influence on Folding Behaviour

May 29, 2015, 11:30 AM
Conference room, Arkipelag (Mariehamn, Åland)

Conference room, Arkipelag

Mariehamn, Åland


Andre Gröschel (School of Science, Aalto University)


Self-assembly describes the spontaneous arrangement of building blocks into complex architectures and patterns with internal symmetries and long-range order. Growth from the bottom-up often involves local packing disorder and defect formation. This presentation discusses the nucleation and evolution of topological defects in template-free self-assembled bilayer sheets growing to closed capsules with bilayer thickness. For that, block copolymers were self-assembled to 50 nm thick sheets and decorated on both sides with a cylinder morphology forming distinct pattern with disclinations of topological strength +1/2 in the origin. The number as well as the distance of disclinations has subtle influence on the local bending modulus of the sheets that affect roll-up mechanism and ultimately govern capsule shape through screening of areas with high-energy curvatures. Since closed capsules still carry cylinders on in- and outside of the membrane (50 nm), topological defects reorganise to four disclinations to satisfy Euler Characteristic. Electron tomography of the bilayers suggests communication between the four disclinations on either side of the membrane, but also across the membrane most likely connecting all eight defects. Topological defects on self-assembled closed shells supports the understanding of complex soft matter nanostructures and may open routes to precise functionalization for hierarchical self-assembly and advanced gating.

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