Designing colloidal ground-state patterns using short-range isotropic interactions

Simon H. Tindemans, Bela M. Mulder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


DNA-coated colloids are a popular model system for self-assembly through tunable interactions. The DNA-encoded linkages between particles theoretically allow for very high specificity, but generally no directionality or long-range interactions. We introduce a two-dimensional lattice model for particles of many different types with short-range isotropic interactions that are pairwise specific. For this class of models, of which the DNA-coated colloids are one example, we address the fundamental question whether it is possible to reliably design the interactions so that the ground state is unique and corresponds to a given crystal structure. First, we determine lower limits for the interaction range between particles, depending on the complexity of the desired pattern and the underlying lattice. Then, we introduce a proof-of-principle "recipe" for determining the pairwise interactions that exactly satisfies this minimum criterion, and we show that it is sufficient to uniquely determine the ground state for a large class of crystal structures. Finally, we verify these results using Monte Carlo simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number021404
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


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