Spheres Growing on a Sphere: A Model to Predict the Morphology Yields of Colloidal Molecules Obtained through a Heterogeneous Nucleation Route
Through the heterogeneous nucleation of polymer nodules on a surface-modified silica particle, the high-yield achievement of hybrid colloidal molecules with a well-controlled multipod-like morphology was recently demonstrated. However, as the formation mechanism of these colloidal molecules has not been completely understood yet, some opportunities remain to reduce the tedious empirical process needed to optimize the chemical recipes. In this work, we propose a model to help understand the formation mechanism of almost pure suspensions of well-defined colloidal molecules. The outcomes of the model allow proposing probable nucleation growth scenario able to explain the experimental results. Such a model should make easier the determination of the optimal recipe parameters for a targeted morphology. The reasonably good agreements between the model and the experimental results show that the most important processes have been captured. It is thus a first step toward the rational design of large quantities of chemically prepared colloidal molecules.