Self-Assembly of Colloidal Molecules due to Self-Generated Flow
AbstractThe emergence of structure through aggregation is a fascinating topic and of both fundamental and practical interest. Here we demonstrate that self-generated solvent flow can be used to generate long-range attractions on the colloidal scale, with subpiconewton forces extending into the millimeter range. We observe a rich dynamic behavior with the formation and fusion of small clusters resembling molecules. The dynamics of this assembly is governed by an effective conservative energy that for large separations r decays as 1/r. Breaking the flow symmetry, these clusters can be made active.