Phase Diagram, Design of Monolayer Binary Colloidal Crystals, and Their Fabrication Based on Ethanol-Assisted Self-Assembly at the Air/Water Interface
Flexible structural design and accurate controlled fabrication with structural tunability according to need for binary or multicomponent colloidal crystals have been expected. However, it is still a challenge. In this work, the phase diagram of monolayer binary colloidal crystals (bCCs) is established on the assumption that both large and small polystyrene (PS) colloidal spheres can stay at the air/water interface, and the range diagram for the size ratio and number ratio of small to large colloidal spheres is presented. From this phase diagram, combining the range diagram, we can design and relatively accurately control fabrication of the bCCs with specific structures (or patterns) according to need, including single or mixed patterns with the given relative content. Further, a simple and facile approach is presented to fabricate large-area (more than 10 cm2) monolayer bCCs without any surfactants, using differently sized PS spheres, based on ethanol-assisted self-assembly at the air/water interface. bCCs with different patterns and stoichiometries are thus designed from the established phase diagram and then successfully fabricated based on the volume ratios (VS/L) of the small to large PS suspensions using the presented colloidal self-assembling method. Interestingly, these monolayer bCCs can be transferred to any desired substrates using water as the medium. This study allows us to design desired patterns of monolayer bCCs and to more accurately control their structures with the used VS/L.