Researchers from New York University presented colloidal diamonds that they have been working on for the past 30 years. They can be used in many fields, including photonic computing.
The scientists said that the development of colloidal diamonds is “the dream of researchers since the 1990s.” These are structures of the smallest particles of the same size and shape, which are interconnected in the form of a diamond lattice. Stable, self-assembling formations of miniature materials have the potential to make light waves as useful as electrons.
Researchers at New York University have studied these structures and possible ways to connect them together for decades. Now they have presented a method where each colloid attaches to another using DNA strands on the surface. Moreover, when colloids collide with each other in a liquid medium, DNA molecules adhere to each other and bind particles. Depending on where the DNA is attached to the colloid, the pattern structure can be varied.
Scientists have found that they can use the steric blocking effect, which will spontaneously create the necessary stepped connections and make a coherent structure. In this case, when the pyramidal colloids approached each other, they joined in the required orientation to form a diamond structure. Therefore, instead of engaging in the expensive and painstaking process of creating these structures using nanomachines, this mechanism allows colloids to be structured without the need for external intervention. Moreover, diamond structures are stable even when the liquid in which they are formed disappears.
This discovery can be applied to lightweight and cost-effective high-efficiency lasers, new types of directional radiation sensors and systems, and light control in 3D photonic integrated circuits.