Most complex nanoparticle crystal ever made by design

complex crystal

The most complex crystal designed and built from nanoparticles has been reported by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan. The work demonstrates that some of nature’s most complicated structures can be deliberately assembled if researchers can control the shapes of the particles and the way they connect using DNA.

“This is a tour de force demonstration of what is possible when one harnesses the chemistry of DNA and combines it with nanoparticles whose shapes encourage a particular crystal structure,” said Chad A. Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern.

Nanotechnology promises to bring materials together in new ways, forging new capabilities by design. One potential application for crystals built of nanoparticles, such as these newly reported ones, is the control of light — nanoparticles interact well with light waves because they are similar in size. This could lead to materials that can change colors or patterns on command or block certain wavelengths of light, while transmitting or amplifying others. New types of lenses, lasers and even Star Trek-like cloaking materials are possible. Continue reading Most complex nanoparticle crystal ever made by design

UCLA physicists map the atomic structure of an alloy


Researchers measured the coordinates of more than 23,000 atoms in a technologically important material.

The results demonstrate that the positions of tens of thousands of atoms can be precisely identified and then fed into quantum mechanics calculations to correlate imperfections and defects with material properties at the single-atom level.

This research will be published February 2 in the journal Nature. Continue reading UCLA physicists map the atomic structure of an alloy