Single-component quasicrystalline nanocrystal superlattices through flexible polygon tiling rule

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Science  21 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6421, pp. 1396-1400
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav0790

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Quantum dots line up as a quasicrystal

Quasicrystals have rotational symmetry but no long-range order. Although several materials have quasicrystalline order, examples of quasicrystalline superlattices formed from different types of particles are rare. Nagaoka et al. discovered a type of 10-fold quasicrystalline superlattice formed from truncated tetrahedral quantum dots (see the Perspective by Wu and Sun). The order is driven by a “flexible polygon tiling rule,” which explains the unique arrangement of the quantum dots.

Science, this issue p. 1396; see also p. 1354


Quasicrystalline superlattices (QC-SLs) generated from single-component colloidal building blocks have been predicted by computer simulations but are challenging to reproduce experimentally. We discovered that 10-fold QC-SLs could self-organize from truncated tetrahedral quantum dots with anisotropic patchiness. Transmission electron microscopy and tomography measurements allow structural reconstruction of the QC-SL from the nanoscale packing to the atomic-scale orientation alignments. The unique QC order leads to a tiling concept, the “flexible polygon tiling rule,” that replicates the experimental observations. The keys for the single-component QC-SL formation were identified to be the anisotropic shape and patchiness of the building blocks and the assembly microscopic environment. Our discovery may spur the creation of various superstructures using anisotropic objects through an enthalpy-driven route.

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