Advanced Functional Materials

Cover image for Vol. 27 Issue 36

17_03/2007Cover Picture: Self-Assembling Colloidal-Scale Devices: Selecting and Using Short-Range Surface Forces Between Conductive Solids (Adv. Funct. Mater. 3/2007)

Simultaneous introduction of short-range repulsive interactions between dissimilar colloidal particles and attractive interactions between like particles provides a general new route to fabricating self-organizing bipolar devices. By identifying combinations of conductive device materials between which short-range repulsive forces exist in the presence of an intervening liquid, electrochemical junctions can be self-formed, as reported by Chiang and co-workers on p. 379.

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.

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