Particle analogs of electrons in colloidal crystals

Martin Girard, Shunzhi Wang, Jingshan S. Du, Anindita Das, Ziyin Huang, Vinayak P Dravid, Byeongdu Lee, Chad A Mirkin*, M Olvera de la Cruz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


A versatile method for the design of colloidal crystals involves the use of DNA as a particle-directing ligand. With such systems, DNA-nanoparticle conjugates are considered programmable atom equivalents (PAEs), and design rules have been devised to engineer crystallization outcomes. This work shows that when reduced in size and DNA grafting density, PAEs behave as electron equivalents (EEs), roaming through and stabilizing the lattices defined by larger PAEs, as electrons do in metals in the classical picture. This discovery defines a new property of colloidal crystals—metallicity—that is characterized by the extent of EE delocalization and diffusion. As the number of strands increases or the temperature decreases, the EEs localize, which is structurally reminiscent of a metal-insulator transition. Colloidal crystal metallicity, therefore, provides new routes to metallic, intermetallic, and compound phases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1174-1178
Number of pages5
Issue number6446
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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