The analysis of periodic order in monolayers of colloidal superballs

Daniël N. ten Napel, Janne-Mieke Meijer, Andrei V. Petukhov (Corresponding author)

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The characterization of periodic order in assemblies of colloidal particles can be complicated by the coincidence of Bragg diffraction peaks of the structure and minima in the form factor of the particles. Here, we demonstrate a general strategy to overcome this problem that is applicable to all low-dimensional structures. This approach is demonstrated in the application of small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) for the characterization of monolayers of colloidal silica superballs prepared using the unidirectional rubbing method. In this method, the ordering of the colloidal superballs is achieved by mechanically rubbing them onto a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-coated surface. Using three differently shaped superballs, ranging from spherical to almost cubic, we show that certain Bragg peaks may not appear in the diffraction patterns due to the presence of minima in the form factor. We show that these missing Bragg peaks can be visualized by imaging the colloidal monolayers at various orientations. Moreover, we argue that the same strategy can be applied to other techniques, such as neutron scattering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5117
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • Colloidal monolayers
  • Colloidal superballs
  • Form factor
  • SAXS
  • Scattering


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