Archive for the ‘Hot Article’ Category

HOT Articles for April!

In situ laser-imprinted surface realignment of a nematic liquid crystal
Giorgio Mirri, Miha Škarabot and Igor Muševič

Graphical abstract: In situ laser-imprinted surface realignment of a nematic liquid crystal

Electrostatic swelling of bicontinuous cubic lipid phases
Arwen I. I. Tyler, Hanna M. G. Barriga, Edward S. Parsons, Nicola L. C. McCarthy, Oscar Ces, Robert V. Law, John M. Seddon and Nicholas J. Brooks

Graphical abstract: Electrostatic swelling of bicontinuous cubic lipid phases

These articles will be free until 28th  April 2015


Self-assembly of mesogenic bent-core DNA nanoduplexes
Khanh Thuy Nguyen, Anna Battisti, Daniele Ancora, Francesco Sciortino and Cristiano De Michele

Graphical abstract: Self-assembly of mesogenic bent-core DNA nanoduplexes

Self-assembly of microcapsules regulated via the repressilator signaling network
Henry Shum, Victor V. Yashin and Anna C. Balazs

Graphical abstract: Self-assembly of microcapsules regulated via the repressilator signaling network

These articles will be free until 22nd May 2015


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HOT Articles for March!

Phase separation in ternary fluid mixtures: a molecular dynamics study
Awaneesh Singh and Sanjay Puri

Graphical abstract: Phase separation in ternary fluid mixtures: a molecular dynamics study

Phase transformations in binary colloidal monolayers
Ye Yang, Lin Fu, Catherine Marcoux, Joshua E. S. Socolar, Patrick Charbonneau and Benjamin B. Yellen 

Graphical abstract: Phase transformations in binary colloidal monolayers
These articles will be free until 30th March 2015


Spider’s super-glue: thread anchors are composite adhesives with synergistic hierarchical organization
Jonas O. Wolff, Ingo Grawe, Marina Wirth, André Karstedt and Stanislav N. Gorb

Graphical abstract: Spider's super-glue: thread anchors are composite adhesives with synergistic hierarchical organization

Stretching self-entangled DNA molecules in elongational fields
C. Benjamin Renner and Patrick S. Doyle

Graphical abstract: Stretching self-entangled DNA molecules in elongational fields

These articles will be free until 6th April 2015


Smectic block copolymer thin films on corrugated substrates
Aldo D. Pezzutti, Leopoldo R. Gómez and Daniel A. Vega

Graphical abstract: Smectic block copolymer thin films on corrugated substrates

Solving the mystery of the internal structure of casein micelles
B. Ingham, G. D. Erlangga, A. Smialowska, N. M. Kirby, C. Wang, L. Matia-Merino, R. G. Haverkamp and A. J. Carr

Graphical abstract: Solving the mystery of the internal structure of casein micelles

These articles will be free until 6th April 2015


Flexibility and protection by design: imbricated hybrid microstructures of bio-inspired armor
Stephan Rudykh, Christine Ortiz and Mary C. Boyce

Graphical abstract: Flexibility and protection by design: imbricated hybrid microstructures of bio-inspired armor

Derivation of stretched exponential tap density equations of granular powders
Tian Hao

Graphical abstract: Derivation of stretched exponential tap density equations of granular powders

These articles will be free until 21st  May 2015


Mechanism of anomalously increased oil displacement with aqueous viscoelastic polymer solutions
Andrew Clarke, Andrew M. Howe, Jonathan Mitchell, John Staniland, Laurence Hawkes and Katherine Leeper

Self-assembly of Janus particles under shear
Arash Nikoubashman, Emanuela Bianchi and Athanassios Z. Panagiotopoulos

These articles will be free until 25th  May 2015


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HOT Articles for February!

Sphere to rod transitions in self assembled systems probed using direct force measurement
Christopher J. Fewkes, Rico F. Tabor and Raymond R. Dagastine

Graphical abstract: Sphere to rod transitions in self assembled systems probed using direct force measurement

Effect of shape on the self-assembly of faceted patchy nanoplates with irregular shape into tiling patterns
Jaime A. Millan, Daniel Ortiz and Sharon C. Glotzer

Graphical abstract: Effect of shape on the self-assembly of faceted patchy nanoplates with irregular shape into tiling patterns

These articles will be free until 3rd March 2015


Angle- and strain-independent coloured free-standing films incorporating non-spherical colloidal photonic crystals
Seon Ju Yeo, Fuquan Tu, Seung-hyun Kim, Gi-Ra Yi, Pil J. Yoo and Daeyeon Lee

Graphical abstract: Angle- and strain-independent coloured free-standing films incorporating non-spherical colloidal photonic crystals

The role of bond tangency and bond gap in hard sphere crystallization of chains
Nikos Ch. Karayiannis, Katerina Foteinopoulou and Manuel Laso

Graphical abstract: The role of bond tangency and bond gap in hard sphere crystallization of chains

These articles will be free until 10th March 2015


2D protein arrays induce 3D in vivo-like assemblies of cells
S. Moreno-Flores and S. Küpcü  

Graphical abstract: 2D protein arrays induce 3D in vivo-like assemblies of cells

Mixed mode of dissolving immersed nanodroplets at a solid–water interface
Xuehua Zhang, Jun Wang, Lei Bao, Erik Dietrich, Roeland C. A. van der Veen, Shuhua Peng, James Friend, Harold J. W. Zandvliet, Leslie Yeo and Detlef Lohse

Graphical abstract: Mixed mode of dissolving immersed nanodroplets at a solid–water interface

These articles will be free until 17th March 2015


Freely drawn single lipid nanotube patterns
Kaori Sugihara, Amin Rustom and Joachim P. Spatz 

Graphical abstract: Freely drawn single lipid nanotube patterns

Liquid crystal quenched orientational disorder at an AFM-scribed alignment surface
J. S. Pendery, T. J. Atherton, M. Nobili, R. G. Petschek, E. Lacaze and C. Rosenblatt

Graphical abstract: Liquid crystal quenched orientational disorder at an AFM-scribed alignment surface

These articles will be free until 24th March 2015


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HOT articles for January!

Graphene oxide single sheets as substrates for high resolution cryoTEM
Marcel W. P. van de Put, Joseph P. Patterson, Paul H. H. Bomans, Neil R. Wilson, Heiner Friedrich, Rolf A. T. M. van Benthem, Gijsbertus de With, Rachel K. O’Reilly and Nico A. J. M. Sommerdijk

Graphical abstract: Graphene oxide single sheets as substrates for high resolution cryoTEM

Cell membrane wrapping of a spherical thin elastic shell
Xin Yi and Huajian Gao

Graphical abstract: Cell membrane wrapping of a spherical thin elastic shell

 

These articles will be free until 3rd February 2015


A Master equation for the probability distribution functions of forces in soft particle packings
Kuniyasu Saitoh, Vanessa Magnanimo and Stefan Luding

Graphical abstract: A Master equation for the probability distribution functions of forces in soft particle packings

Structural tailoring of hydrogen-bonded poly(acrylic acid)/poly(ethylene oxide) multilayer thin films for reduced gas permeability
Fangming Xiang, Sarah M. Ward, Tara M. Givens and Jaime C. Grunlan

Graphical abstract: Structural tailoring of hydrogen-bonded poly(acrylic acid)/poly(ethylene oxide) multilayer thin films for reduced gas permeability

These articles will be free until 10th February 2015


Smectic layer instabilities in liquid crystals
Ingo Dierking, Michel Mitov and Mikhail A. Osipov

Graphical abstract: Smectic layer instabilities in liquid crystals

 
Graphical abstract: Coarse-grained simulation of dynamin-mediated fission
 
 
 These articles will be free until 17th February 2015Self-recovering caddisfly silk: energy dissipating, Ca2+-dependent, double dynamic network fibers
Nicholas N. Ashton and Russell J. Stewart   

Graphical abstract: Self-recovering caddisfly silk: energy dissipating, Ca2+-dependent, double dynamic network fibers
Structure and percolation of one-patch spherocylinders
Cheng-yu Zhang, Xing-liang Jian and Wei Lu   

Graphical abstract: Structure and percolation of one-patch spherocylinders

These articles will be free until 24th February 2015


 


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Leading Article by Soft Matter 2014 Lectureship Winner

Surface tension and the mechanics of liquid inclusions in compliant solids

Robert W. Style, John S. Wettlaufer, and Eric R. Dufresne

Dufresne et al. graphical abstract

This article proposes a theory of fluid inclusions in soft solids and builds upon experimental findings of a previous paper recently published in Nature Physics – “Stiffening solids with liquid inclusions” doi:10.1038/nphys3181 – which revealed that Eshelby’s foundational theory fails to describe the mechanical response of soft composites. Eshelby’s theory of elastic inclusions is significantly cited and outlines the response of microscopic inclusions within an elastic solid when macroscopically stress is applied. Furthermore, Eshelby’s theory allows the prediction of bulk properties and is fundamental in calculating the stress field in fracture mechanics. It has been widely used in many other areas such as cell biology to predict cell interactions and seismology.

The theoretical study aims to rationalise the experimental results from the previous paper and explain that they were due to the surface tension of the solid-liquid interface, which is completely ignored in established theory.

The work expands previous theories based on strain-dependent surface stresses, relevant to nanoinclusions in stiffer materials, but not for softer materials such as gels.

The group adapted Eshelby’s inclusion theory so that it included surface tension for liquid inclusions in a linear elastic solid, giving both the microscopic behaviour and the macroscopic effects of inclusions in composites. The authors believe that these findings can be applied to a wide variety of soft material systems, especially composites comprising of soft materials such as gels and elastomers.

Full citation information:

Surface tension and the mechanics of liquid inclusions in compliant solids
Robert W. Style, John S. Wettlaufer and Eric R. Dufresne
Soft Matter, 2015, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02413C

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HOT articles for December!

Pearling and arching instabilities of a granular suspension on a super-absorbing surface
Julien Chopin and Arshad Kudrolli

Graphical abstract: Pearling and arching instabilities of a granular suspension on a super-absorbing surface

Effects of topological constraints on globular polymers
Maxim V. Imakaev, Konstantin M. Tchourine, Sergei K. Nechaev and Leonid A. Mirny

Graphical abstract: Effects of topological constraints on globular polymers

These articles will be free until 7th January 2015


Thermodynamics of the self-assembly of non-ionic chromonic molecules using atomistic simulations. The case of TP6EO2M in aqueous solution
Anna Akinshina, Martin Walker, Mark R. Wilson, Gordon J. T. Tiddy, Andrew J. Masters and Paola Carbone

Graphical abstract: Thermodynamics of the self-assembly of non-ionic chromonic molecules using atomistic simulations. The case of TP6EO2M in aqueous solution

Graphene Oxide Single Sheets as Substrate for High Resolution cryoTEM
Marcel van de Put, Joseph P. Patterson, Paul Bomans, Neil Wilson, Heiner Friedrich, Rolf van Benthem, Gijsbertus de With, Rachel K. O’Reilly and Nico Sommerdijk 

These articles will be free until 14th January 2015


Surface tension and the mechanics of liquid inclusions in compliant solids
Robert W. Style, John S. Wettlaufer and Eric R. Dufresne

Graphical abstract: Surface tension and the mechanics of liquid inclusions in compliant solids

Observation of dynamical heterogeneities and their time-evolution on the surface of an amorphous polymer
Hung Kim Nguyen, Dong Wang, Thomas P Russell and Ken Nakajima

These articles will be free until 20th  January 2015


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A simple route to responsive, particle-stabilized foams using bare silica nanoparticles

Web writer Rob Woodward highlights a hot article from the journal


Defined as bubbles of gas in liquid-film matrix, foams are important precursors in the food and cosmetic industry and for the production of macroporous materials. In this report a simple, effective route to silica nanoparticle stabilised responsive aqueous foams has been demonstrated by the Binks group. Stimuli-responsive surface active particles have generated growing interest in recent years, utilising triggers including pH, temperature and light irradiation to create ‘switchable’ foams, i.e. the ability to “switch-off” the foaming capability of the particles. However, the production of responsive surface active particles usually involves surface coating of mineral particles or the complicated synthesis of functional polymer particles.

In order to address this problem Binks et al. utilise the interaction of N’-dodecyl-N,N-dimethylacetamidinium bicarbonate, a responsive surfactant, with anionic silica nanoparticles in water. By exposure to either CO2 or N2 the responsive surfactant can be switched between a cationic species and a surface-inactive neural form, respectively. On the formation of the cationic species, complexation of the surfactant to anionic silica nanoparticle surfaces gives an in situ increase in the hydrophobicity of the silica, yielding surface-active nanoparticles. Agitation of the resulting complexed system gives foams, however, on exposure to N2 the responsive surfactant returns to its neutral state and desorbs from the surface of the silica particles, resulting in desorption of the particles from the water-air interface.

This simple route to switchable particle-stabilized aqueous foams removes the need for the complicated synthesis of particles as ‘bare’ silica nanoparticles can be used. The synergistic effect of the responsive surfactant and the nanoparticles also allows for the production of foams using a much lower concentration of surfactant than in a responsive-surfactant system alone.

Micrographs of the bubbles in foams produced by shaking 10 cm3 of a dispersion of 0.5 wt% particles in a surfactant solution at different concentrations in bottles (25 cm3) taken immediately after shaking. Surfactant concentrations from A to F are: 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.6, 1.0 and 2.0 mM.

To find out more read the full article:

Responsive aqueous foams stabilised by silica nanoparticles hydrophobised in situ with a switchable surfactant

Yue Zhu, Jianzhong Jiang, Zhenggang Cui and Bernie Binks

Soft Matter, 2014, Accepted Manuscript

DOI: 10.1039/C4SM01970A

This post was written by web writer Rob Woodward. Rob is currently based in Imperial College London working in the Polymer and Composite Engineering (PaCE) group. Rob has a background in both responsive polymeric surfactants and microporous organic polymers for carbon capture and storage.

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On polydispersity and the hard sphere glass transition – an overview of a hot article

On polydispersity and the hard sphere glass transition, Emanuela Zaccarelli, Siobhan M. Liddle and Wilson C. K. Poon, Soft Matter, 2014

DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02321H

The aim of this work was to investigate the dynamics of polydisperse hard spheres at high packing fractions φ. The effects of polydispersity and the detailed shape of the particle size distribution (PSD) were studied.


The glass transition is not fully understood despite many decades of research. The discovery that hard-spheres, sterically-stabilised polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) colloids, underwent kinetic arrest at a packing fraction of φ = φg ≈ 0.58 led to hard sphere colloids becoming the preferred method to test mode coupling theory (MCT). This is a significant piece of work by Emanuela Zaccarelli, Siobhan M. Liddle and Wilson C. K. Poon who are the first to present simulations of a polydisperse system of hard spheres with a size distribution essentially identical to the experimental data. The findings of the authors are novel and very important, they also put forward a new interpretation of what is going on in glass transition of MCT experiments. Assumptions with regard to PSD are not made and a model as close to the experimental one as possible is designed.

Event-driven Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations of hard spheres with different PSD were performed. Experimentally obtained PSD from ≈ 2200 PMMA particles were measured by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). N = 2309 particles were simulated with the experimental PSD, measurement noise was included to produce a realistic system representation. N = 2000 particles taken from Gaussian and top hat distributions were considered for comparison.

It was found that a mixed state of ergodic small particles and glassy large particles in a window of concentrations is present and results in a hybrid dynamical state that is fluid for a long time but shows an unusual type of ageing. The breakdown of the MCT-predictions is due to the existence of partial decoupling, which is not accounted for in the monodisperse-version of MCT. However, the results of MCT are recovered once the polydispersity is reduced. There is a non-monotonic dependence of the quality of the glass former on the polydispersity index, s. When s = 0, the system is prone to crystallization and strong glasses are formed when s = <8%. The glass transition is smeared out due to the emergence of the “ageing liquid” for higher values of s as well as for samples drawn from peaked distributions. The precise form of the size distribution is relevant, a peaked distribution that allows a distinction between small and large particles is essential but this is not the case in the top hat particle distribution.

In conclusion, at a fixed relative standard deviation of the PSD the exact shape of the PSD has little influence on the general behaviour of the dynamics, large differences between the dynamics of “small” and “large” particles are found for realistic PSD shapes.

The glass transition is smeared out in polydisperse hard spheres due to decoupling between small and large particles

Please follow the link for the full article.

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HOT articles for November!

Molecular geometry, twist-bend nematic phase and unconventional elasticity: a generalised
Maier–Saupe theory Cristina Greco, Geoffrey R. Luckhurst and Alberta Ferrarini 

Graphical abstract: Molecular geometry, twist-bend nematic phase and unconventional elasticity: a generalised Maier–Saupe theory

 
“Crystal-clear” liquid–liquid transition in a tetrahedral fluid
Francis W. Starr and Francesco Sciortino

Graphical abstract: “Crystal-clear” liquid–liquid transition in a tetrahedral fluid

These articles will be free until 1st December 2014


Peeling-angle dependence of the stick-slip instability during adhesive tape peeling
Marie-Julie Dalbe, Stéphane Santucci, Loïc Vanel and Pierre-Philippe Cortet  

Graphical abstract: Peeling-angle dependence of the stick-slip instability during adhesive tape peeling

Multi-blob coarse graining for ring polymer solutions
Arturo Narros, Christos N. Likos, Angel J. Moreno and Barbara Capone 

Graphical abstract: Multi-blob coarse graining for ring polymer solutions

These articles will be free until 9th  December 2014


 
Relating foam and interfacial rheological properties of β-lactoglobulin solutions
M. Lexis and N. Willenbacher

Graphical abstract: Relating foam and interfacial rheological properties of β-lactoglobulin solutions

 
Controlling mechanisms in directional growth of aggregated archaeal cells
Viktor Milkevych and Damien J. Batstone

Graphical abstract: Controlling mechanisms in directional growth of aggregated archaeal cells

These articles will be free until 16th  December 2014


Examining platelet adhesion via Stokes flow simulations and microfluidic experiments
Sean Fitzgibbon, Jonathan Cowman, Antonio J. Ricco, Dermot Kenny and Eric S. G. Shaqfeh

Graphical abstract: Examining platelet adhesion via Stokes flow simulations and microfluidic experiments
Sequential phase transformation of propeller-like C3-symmetric liquid crystals from a helical to ordered to disordered hexagonal columnar structure
Soyoung Park and Byoung-Ki Cho

Graphical abstract: Sequential phase transformation of propeller-like C3-symmetric liquid crystals from a helical to ordered to disordered hexagonal columnar structure

These articles will be free until 23rd  December 2014


Hierarchical superstructures from a star-shaped molecule consisting of a cyclic oligosiloxane with cyanobiphenyl moieties Dae-Yoon Kim, Minwook Park, Sang-A Lee, Soeun Kim, Chih-Hao Hsu, Namil Kim, Shiao-Wei Kuo, Tae-Ho Yoon and Kwang-Un Jeong

Graphical abstract: Hierarchical superstructures from a star-shaped molecule consisting of a cyclic oligosiloxane with cyanobiphenyl moieties

These articles will be free until 30th  December 2014


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Block Copolymer Spheres or Block Copolymer Worms: Which Pickering Emulsifier Has More Backbone?

This recent publication from the Armes group investigates the ability of a number of amphiphilic block copolymer nanoparticles to stabilize n-dodecane-in-water emulsions. The aim of the work was to compare spherical and worm-like nano-structures and their efficiency as Pickering emulsifiers, i.e. the ability of these solid particles to adsorb irreversibly at the liquid-liquid interface to form a Pickering emulsion.

Graphical abstract: Are block copolymer worms more effective Pickering emulsifiers than block copolymer spheres?

In previous work by the University of Sheffield group, a number of both linear and branched block copolymers were produced in the form of vesicular structures. It was found that branching was necessary in order to prevent the vesicles dissociating into individual copolymer chains when exposed to high-shear homogenization. In this work linear and branched analogues of the copolymer poly(glycerol monomethacrylate)–poly(2-hydroxypropyl methacrylate) (PGMA-PHPMA) are synthesized as both spherical and worm-like nanoparticles. Armes et al. report that the linear nano-structures are not sufficiently robust enough to survive the high-shear conditions necessary for emulsification, whereas the cross-linked copolymer structures are more likely to retain their morphologies and yield genuine Pickering emulsions. Spherical and worm-like structures are provided greater covalent stabilization via chemical cross-linking, allowing structures to survive homogenization as with the vesicles reported previously.

The use of the more hydrophobic poly(benzyl methacrylate) (PBzMA) in place of PHPMA was also investigated in order to examine if increased amphiphilicity could enhance the stability of linear nano-objects in the absence of chemical cross-linking. Both the spherical and worm-like structures comprised of these linear polymer chains formed stable Pickering emulsions, suggesting that branching is not mandatory for the formation of the particulate surfactants.

Due to strong adsorption at the liquid-liquid interface and their ability to produce smaller droplets at a given nanoparticle concentration, it is concluded that branched copolymers with worm-like morphologies are the more effective Pickering emulsifiers. This is also aided by the suggestion that they are at least as efficiently adsorbed at the interface as their spherical analogues.

K. L. Thompson, C. J. Mable, A. Cockram, N. J. Warren, V. J. Cunningham, E. R. Jones, R. Verber and S. P. Armes

This post was written by web writer Rob Woodward. Rob is currently based in Imperial College London working in the Polymer and Composite Engineering (PaCE) group. Rob has a background in both responsive polymeric surfactants and microporous organic polymers for carbon capture and storage.

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