Self-Assembling Colloidal-Scale Devices: Selecting and Using Short-Range Surface Forces Between Conductive Solids


  • This work was supported by U.S. AFOSR Grant No. F49620–02–1–0406 and NSF Grant No. CMS-0609050. Y.K.C. acknowledges support by the Korea Research Foundation and R.W. by a Director of Central Intelligence Postdoctoral Fellowship. The authors gratefully acknowledge helpful discussions with W. Douglas Moorehead, Dr. Sung-Yoon Chung, Dr. Jennifer L. Giocondi, Dr. Richard K. Holman, and Dr. G. N. Riley. Supporting Information is available online from Wiley InterScience or from the author.


A new general approach to the direct formation of bipolar devices from heterogeneous colloids is suggested. By using surface-force theory and direct measurements, combinations of conductive device materials between which short-range repulsive forces exist in the presence of an intervening liquid, and use these interactions to self-form electrochemical junctions are identified. The inclusion of Lifshitz–van der Waals (LW) and acid–base (AB) interactions appears to be generally sufficient for the prediction of short-range interactions. Device concepts using repulsive and attractive short-range interactions to produce self-organizing colloidal-scale devices are proposed and demonstrated. A prototype self-organizing lithium rechargeable battery is demonstrated using lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) and graphite as the active electrode materials.