Epitaxy: Programmable Atom Equivalents Versus Atoms

Mary X. Wang, Soyoung E. Seo, Paul A. Gabrys, Dagny Fleischman, Byeongdu Lee, Youngeun Kim, Harry A. Atwater, Robert J. Macfarlane, Chad A. Mirkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The programmability of DNA makes it an attractive structure-directing ligand for the assembly of nanoparticle (NP) superlattices in a manner that mimics many aspects of atomic crystallization. However, the synthesis of multilayer single crystals of defined size remains a challenge. Though previous studies considered lattice mismatch as the major limiting factor for multilayer assembly, thin film growth depends on many interlinked variables. Here, a more comprehensive approach is taken to study fundamental elements, such as the growth temperature and the thermodynamics of interfacial energetics, to achieve epitaxial growth of NP thin films. Both surface morphology and internal thin film structure are examined to provide an understanding of particle attachment and reorganization during growth. Under equilibrium conditions, single crystalline, multilayer thin films can be synthesized over 500 × 500 μm2 areas on lithographically patterned templates, whereas deposition under kinetic conditions leads to the rapid growth of glassy films. Importantly, these superlattices follow the same patterns of crystal growth demonstrated in atomic thin film deposition, allowing these processes to be understood in the context of well-studied atomic epitaxy and enabling a nanoscale model to study fundamental crystallization processes. Through understanding the role of epitaxy as a driving force for NP assembly, we are able to realize 3D architectures of arbitrary domain geometry and size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-185
Number of pages6
JournalACS nano
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 24 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA
  • epitaxy
  • nanoparticles
  • self-assembly
  • thin film

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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