Freely Jointed Polymers Made of Droplets

Angus McMullen, Miranda Holmes-Cerfon, Francesco Sciortino, Alexander Y. Grosberg, Jasna Brujic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An important goal of self-assembly is to achieve a preprogrammed structure with high fidelity. Here, we control the valence of DNA-functionalized emulsions to make linear and branched model polymers, or "colloidomers." The distribution of cluster sizes is consistent with a polymerization process in which the droplets achieve their prescribed valence. Conformational statistics reveal that the chains are freely jointed, so that the Kuhn length is close to one bead diameter. The end-to-end length scales with the number of bonds N as Nν, where ν≈3/4, in agreement with the Flory theory in two dimensions. The chain diffusion coefficient D approximately scales as D-N-ν, as predicted by the Zimm model. Unlike molecular polymers, colloidomers can be repeatedly assembled and disassembled under temperature cycling, allowing for reconfigurable, responsive matter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number138002
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - Sep 26 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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