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Identification of a Frank-Kasper Z phase from shape amphiphile self-assembly

Su, Zebin; Hsu, Chih-Hao; Gong, Zihao; Feng, Xueyan; Huang, Jiahao; Zhang, Ruimeng; Wang, Yu; Mao, Jialin; Wesdemiotis, Chrys; Li, Tao; Seifert, Soenke; Zhang, Wei; Aida, Takuzo; Huang, Mingjun; Cheng, Stephen Z. D.

Nature Chemistry, 2019, vol 11, 10, pp. 899-905



Frank-–Kasper phases, a family of ordered structures formed from particles with spherical motifs, are found in a host of materials, such as metal alloys, inorganic colloids and various types of soft matter. All the experimentally observed Frank–-Kasper phases can be constructed from the basic units of three fundamental structures called the A15, C15 and Z phases. The Z phase, typically observed in metal alloys, is associated with a relatively large volume ratio between its constituents, and this constraint inhibits its formation in most self-assembled single-component soft-matter systems. We have assembled a series of nanosized shape amphiphiles that comprise a triphenylene core and six polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane cages grafted onto it through linkers to give a variety of unconventional structures, which include the Z phase. This structure was obtained through fine tuning of the linker lengths between the core and the peripheral polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane cages, and exhibits a relatively large volume asymmetry between its constituent polyhedral particle motifs.

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