The thermodynamic origins of chiral twist in monolayer assemblies of rod-like colloids

YW Liu and JA Wood and A Giacometti and A Widmer-Cooper, NANOSCALE, 14, 16837-16844 (2022).

DOI: 10.1039/d2nr05230j

The propagation of chirality across scales is a common but poorly understood phenomenon in soft matter. Here, using computer simulations, we study twisted monolayer assemblies formed by both chiral and achiral rod-like particles in the presence of non-adsorbing polymer and characterise the thermodynamic driving forces responsible for the twisting. We observe assemblies with both like and inverted chirality relative to the rods and show that the preferred twist is already determined during the initial stage of the self-assembly. Depending on the geometry of the constituent rods, the chiral twist is regulated by either the entropy gain of the polymer, or of the rods, or both. This can include important contributions from changes in both the surface area and volume of the monolayer and from rod fluctuations perpendicular to the monolayer. These findings can deepen our understanding of why chirality propagates and of how to control it.

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