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Coupling morphological and magnetic anisotropy for assembling tetragonal colloidal crystals.

Abstract

Morphological and magnetic anisotropy can be combined in colloidal assembly to create unconventional secondary structures. We show here that magnetite nanorods interact along a critical angle, depending on their aspect ratios and assemble into body-centered tetragonal colloidal crystals. Under a magnetic field, size-dependent attractive and repulsive domains develop on the ends and center of the nanorods, respectively. Our joint experiment-computational multiscale study demonstrates the presence of a critical angle in the attractive domain, which defines the equilibrium bonding states of interacting rods and leads to the formation of non–close-packed yet hard-contact tetragonal crystals. Small-angle x-ray scattering measurement attributes the perfect tetragonal phase to the slow assembly kinetics. The crystals exhibit brilliant structural colors, which can be actively tuned by changing the magnetic field direction. These highly ordered frameworks and well-defined three-dimensional nanochannels may offer new opportunities for manipulating nanoscale chemical transformation, mass transportation, and wave propagation.

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