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Superstructures generated from truncated tetrahedral quantum dots


Eggert,  D.
Miller Group, Atomically Resolved Dynamics Department, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Max Planck Society;
Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology;

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Nagaoka, Y., Tan, R., Li, R., Zhu, H., Eggert, D., Wu, Y. A., et al. (2018). Superstructures generated from truncated tetrahedral quantum dots. Nature, 561(7723), 378-393. doi:10.1038/s41586-018-0512-5.

he assembly of uniform nanocrystal building blocks into well ordered superstructures is a fundamental strategy for the generation of meso- and macroscale metamaterials with emergent nanoscopic functionalities1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. The packing of spherical nanocrystals, which frequently adopt dense, face-centred-cubic or hexagonal-close-packed arrangements at thermodynamic equilibrium, has been much more widely studied than that of non-spherical, polyhedral nanocrystals, despite the fact that the latter have intriguing anisotropic properties resulting from the shapes of the building blocks11,12,13. Here we report the packing of truncated tetrahedral quantum dot nanocrystals into three distinct superstructures—one-dimensional chiral tetrahelices, two-dimensional quasicrystal-approximant superlattices and three-dimensional cluster-based body-centred-cubic single supercrystals—by controlling the assembly conditions. Using techniques in real and reciprocal spaces, we successfully characterized the superstructures from their nanocrystal translational orderings down to the atomic-orientation alignments of individual quantum dots. Our packing models showed that formation of the nanocrystal superstructures is dominated by the selective facet-to-facet contact induced by the anisotropic patchiness of the tetrahedra. This study provides information about the packing of non-spherical nanocrystals into complex superstructures, and may enhance the potential of self-assembled nanocrystal metamaterials in practical applications.