, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 15-32
Date: 31 Dec 2010

Multicomponent periodic nanoparticle superlattices

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In this article, we review the state-of-the-art in the preparation and characterization of multicomponent self-assembled superlattices of colloidal nanoparticles with core sizes in the range of 2–20 nm and interparticle spacing less than 2 nm down to intimate contact stemming from sintering. Several aspects of the field are discussed, including: structural organization, the role of particle size distribution, key interparticle forces at play, and methods of investigation of the structures. Contrary to the extensively studied colloidal crystals composed of microscale particles, the nanoparticles possess unique size-dependent properties, such as electronic, optical, or magnetic, which when combined into periodic structures can potentially lead to new collective states stemming from precise positioning of the nanocolloids. As such, we examine a number of emerging applications of this new class of metamaterials. Finally, we speculate on the potential impact of these materials, the new directions, and the challenges for the researchers.