Ionic colloidal crystals, tiny structures with enormous potential

Year 2003
Project team Yet-Ming Chiang

Determining practical fabrication conditions

Ionic colloidal crystals (ICC) are an exciting family of materials that have fascinating properties. Cousins of naturally occurring opal gemstones, these materials promise a broad range of novel and tunable properties that could enable new functionalities in applications such as ultrafiltration, microfluidics, catalysis, drug delivery, photonics, and ferroic devices. This project used theory and experiment to identify colloid-chemical conditions under which ICCs are most easily formed. It sought to determine practical fabrication conditions as the first step towards assessment of manufacturability and demonstration of prototype materials and devices. Successful experiments could open up a whole new field of study.