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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  2. Abstract

    Quasicrystals exhibit long-range order but lack translational symmetry. When grown as single crystals, they possess distinctive and unusual properties owing to the absence of grain boundaries. Unfortunately, conventional methods such as bulk crystal growth or thin film deposition only allow us to synthesize either polycrystalline quasicrystals or quasicrystals that are at most a few centimeters in size. Here, we reveal through real-time and 3D imaging the formation of a single decagonal quasicrystal arising from a hard collision between multiple growing quasicrystals in an Al-Co-Ni liquid. Through corresponding molecular dynamics simulations, we examine the underlying kinetics of quasicrystal coalescence and investigate the effects of initial misorientation between the growing quasicrystalline grains on the formation of grain boundaries. At small misorientation, coalescence occurs following rigid rotation that is facilitated by phasons. Our joint experimental-computational discovery paves the way toward fabrication of single, large-scale quasicrystals for novel applications.

  3. Entropically driven self-assembly of hard anisotropic particles, where particle shape gives rise to emergent valencies, provides a useful perspective for the design of nanoparticle and colloidal systems. Hard particles self-assemble into a rich variety of crystal structures, ranging in complexity from simple close-packed structures to structures with 432 particles in the unit cell. Entropic crystallization of open structures, however, is missing from this landscape. Here, we report the self-assembly of a two-dimensional binary mixture of hard particles into an open host–guest structure, where nonconvex, triangular host particles form a honeycomb lattice that encapsulates smaller guest particles. Notably, this open structure forms in the absence of enthalpic interactions by effectively splitting the structure into low- and high-entropy sublattices. This is the first such structure to be reported in a two-dimensional athermal system. We discuss the observed compartmentalization of entropy in this system, and show that the effect of the size of the guest particle on the stability of the structure gives rise to a reentrant phase behavior. This reentrance suggests the possibility for a reconfigurable colloidal material, and we provide a proof-of-concept by showing the assembly behavior while changing the size of the guest particles in situ . Our findings providemore »a strategy for designing open colloidal crystals, as well as binary systems that exhibit co-crystallization, which have been elusive thus far.« less
  4. The rigid constraints of chemistry—dictated by quantum mechanics and the discrete nature of the atom—limit the set of observable atomic crystal structures. What structures are possible in the absence of these constraints? Here, we systematically crystallize one-component systems of particles interacting with isotropic multiwell pair potentials. We investigate two tunable families of pairwise interaction potentials. Our simulations self-assemble a multitude of crystal structures ranging from basic lattices to complex networks. Sixteen of the structures have natural analogs spanning all coordination numbers found in inorganic chemistry. Fifteen more are hitherto unknown and occupy the space between covalent and metallic coordination environments. The discovered crystal structures constitute targets for self-assembly and expand our understanding of what a crystal structure can look like.

  5. Quasicrystals have been discovered in a variety of materials ranging from metals to polymers. Yet, why and how they form is incompletely understood. In situ transmission electron microscopy of alloy quasicrystal formation in metals suggests an error-and-repair mechanism, whereby quasiperiodic crystals grow imperfectly with phason strain present, and only perfect themselves later into a high-quality quasicrystal with negligible phason strain. The growth mechanism has not been investigated for other types of quasicrystals, such as dendrimeric, polymeric, or colloidal quasicrystals. Soft-matter quasicrystals typically result from entropic, rather than energetic, interactions, and are not usually grown (either in laboratories or in silico ) into large-volume quasicrystals. Consequently, it is unknown whether soft-matter quasicrystals form with the high degree of structural quality found in metal alloy quasicrystals. Here, we investigate the entropically driven growth of colloidal dodecagonal quasicrystals (DQCs) via computer simulation of systems of hard tetrahedra, which are simple models for anisotropic colloidal particles that form a quasicrystal. Using a pattern recognition algorithm applied to particle trajectories during DQC growth, we analyze phason strain to follow the evolution of quasiperiodic order. As in alloys, we observe high structural quality; DQCs with low phason strain crystallize directly from the melt and only requiremore »minimal further reduction of phason strain. We also observe transformation from a denser approximant to the DQC via continuous phason strain relaxation. Our results demonstrate that soft-matter quasicrystals dominated by entropy can be thermodynamically stable and grown with high structural quality––just like their alloy quasicrystal counterparts.« less
  6. The microstructural optimization of porous lithium ion battery electrodes has traditionally been driven by experimental trial and error efforts, based on anecdotal understanding and intuition, leading to the development of useful but qualitative rules of thumb to guide the design of porous energy storage technology. In this paper, an advanced data-driven framework is presented wherein the effect of experimentally accessible microstructural parameters such as active particle morphology and spacial arrangement, underlying porosity, cell thickness, etc. , on the corresponding macroscopic power and energy density is systematically assessed. For the Li x C 6 | LMO chemistry, an analysis performed on 53 356 battery architectures reported in the literature revealed that for commercial microstructures based on oblate-shaped particles, lightly textured samples deliver higher power and energy density responses as compared to highly textured samples, which suffer from large polarization losses. In contrast, high aspect ratio prolate-shaped particles deliver the highest energy and power density, particularly in the limit of wire-like morphologies. Polyhedra-based colloidal microstructures demonstrate high area densities, and low tortuosities, but provide no appreciable power and energy density benefit over currently manufactured particle morphologies. The developed framework enables to establish general microstructure design guidelines and propose optimal electrode microstructures based onmore »the intended application, given an anode and cathode chemistry.« less