Exploring the zone of anisotropy and broken symmetries in DNA-mediated nanoparticle crystallization

Matthew N. O'Brien, Martin Girard, Hai Xin Lin, Jaime A. Millan, Monica Olvera De La Cruz, Byeongdu Lee, Chad A. Mirkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


In this work, we present a joint experimental and molecular dynamics simulations effort to understand and map the crystallization behavior of polyhedral nanoparticles assembled via the interaction of DNA surface ligands. In these systems, we systematically investigated the interplay between the effects of particle core (via the particle symmetry and particle size) and ligands (via the ligand length) on crystallization behavior. This investigation revealed rich phase diagrams, previously unobserved phase transitions in polyhedral crystallization behavior, and an unexpected symmetry breaking in the ligand distribution on a particle surface. To understand these results, we introduce the concept of a zone of anisotropy, or the portion of the phase space where the anisotropy of the particle is preserved in the crystallization behavior. Through comparison of the zone of anisotropy for each particle we develop a foundational roadmap to guide future investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10485-10490
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 20 2016


  • Anisotropic nanoparticles
  • Broken symmetry
  • Colloidal crystallization
  • DNA
  • Nanomaterials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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