Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.583, 385-393, 2021
Gradient stretching to produce variable aspect ratio colloidal ellipsoids
Developing reliable synthetic methods for producing shape-anisotropic polymer colloids is essential for their use in novel functional materials. In designing such materials from ellipsoidal particles, it is often necessary to screen a wide range of particle sizes and aspect ratios to appropriately understand how microscopic particle characteristics dictate macroscopic material response. Here, we describe a technique to simultaneously produce a broad range of aspect ratio polymer ellipsoid samples from a single synthetic step. The technique extends the traditional film-stretching approach to create ellipsoids by introducing a gradient in strain and film cooling, which results in varying degrees of particle stretching. We empirically calibrate the device such that the final particle elongation may be predicted from the film characteristics, enabling the selective harvesting of ellipsoids with desired dimensions and which can be isolated by aspect ratio. The method is applied successfully to a wide range of seed particle diameters (500 nm - 10 mu m) and enables the rapid synthesis of variable aspect ratio particles for systematic studies of anisotropic particles. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.