Available Technology

BSA 12-09: Nanoparticle Superlattices for Custom-designed Metamaterials

Many properties of materials depend on their structural symmetry - for example, piezoelectricity is simply not observed in high-symmetry configurations. When the building blocks of a lattice are isotropic (perfectly uniform), they rarely form a low-symmetry crystal system. Now, by controlling the interlinking of isotropic nanoparticles, it is possible to custom-design the symmetry of a self-assembled lattice and enhance the desired properties in the full nanomaterial.
Patent Abstract: 
Lattice Design via Multivalent Linkers (LDML) is based on specially synthesized linkers with multiple attachment points, which determine connections between isotropic DNA-coated particles. Such linkers possess a specific symmetry that, analogously to atomic bonds, will result in the formed lattice displaying a designed symmetry. By introducing linkers with a specific architecture of linker-particle connecting sites determined by molecular bonds (for example DNA, hydrogen bonds etc.), the correspondence between linker symmetry and packing of particles into superstructures emerges during the self-assembly process.
Metamaterials exhibit properties not seen in naturally occurring materials, such as negative index of refraction, in part because of their crystal symmetries. By self-assembling nanoparticles into lattices displaying chosen symmetries, it is possible to custom-design the properties of the metamaterials without resorting to top-down processing methods. The self-assembly method is straightforward and particularly well suited to prototyping, whereas nanoscale lithography is quite expensive and complex to implement.
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