Design principles for photonic crystals based on plasmonic nanoparticle superlattices

Lin Sun, Haixin Lin, Kevin L. Kohlstedt, George C. Schatz*, Chad A. Mirkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Photonic crystals have been widely studied due to their broad technological applications in lasers, sensors, optical telecommunications, and display devices. Typically, photonic crystals are periodic structures of touching dielectric materials with alternating high and low refractive indices, and to date, the variables of interest have focused primarily on crystal symmetry and the refractive indices of the constituent materials, primarily polymers and semiconductors. In contrast, finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulations suggest that plasmonic nanoparticle superlattices with spacer groups offer an alternative route to photonic crystals due to the controllable spacing of the nanoparticles and the high refractive index of the lattices, even far away from the plasmon frequency where losses are low. Herein, the stopband features of 13 Bravais lattices are characterized and compared, resulting in paradigm-shifting design principles for photonic crystals. Based on these design rules, a simple cubic structure with an ∼130-nm lattice parameter is predicted to have a broad photonic stopband, a property confirmed by synthesizing the structure via DNA programmable assembly and characterizing it by reflectance measurements. We show through simulation that a maximum reflectance of more than 0.99 can be achieved in these plasmonic photonic crystals by optimizing the nanoparticle composition and structural parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7242-7247
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 10 2018


  • Colloidal crystal
  • DNA programmable assembly
  • Photonic crystal
  • Plasmonic nanoparticles
  • Tunable bandgap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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