How to design an icosahedral quasicrystal through directional bonding

Journal:
Nature
Published:
DOI:
10.1038/s41586-021-03700-2
Affiliations:
2
Authors:
4

Research Highlight

Designer quasicrystals

© ALFRED PASIEKA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

A strategy for constructing quasicrystals with a special symmetry has been devised for the first time.

Quasicrystals are curious entities. Unlike conventional crystals, they are not made up of repeating building blocks. But despite that, they do possess order when viewed on a large enough scale.

Possessing the same symmetry as three-dimensional 20-sided shapes known as icosahedrons, icosahedral quasicrystals were the first quasicrystals found in nature. But unlike quasicrystals with other symmetries, they have only been found as metallic alloys — they haven’t been found as covalent materials, which have directional bonds.

Now, two researchers at the Spanish National Research Council and two collaborators have used computer simulations to show that colloidal particles could assemble themselves into icosahedral quasicrystals through directional bonding.

The team suggest that icosahedral quasicrystals could be made in the lab by using nanotechnology techniques employing DNA origami particles.

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References

  1. Nature 596, 367–371 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03700-2
Institutions Authors Share
Institute of Physical Chemistry "Rocasolano" (IQFR), CSIC, Spain
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University of Oxford, United Kingdom (UK)
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