Honors & Awards

  • Ryan Fellow, Northwestern University (2020-2023)
  • MIT Chemical Engineering Rising Stars, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2023)
  • SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship, The International Society for Optics and Photonics (2022)
  • Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship, The International Centre for Diffraction Data (2022)
  • MRS Graduate Student Award, Materials Research Society (2022)
  • IIN Outstanding Research Award, International Institute for Nanotechnology (2022)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Space-tiled colloidal crystals from DNA-forced shape-complementary polyhedra pairing. Science (New York, N.Y.) Zhou, W., Li, Y., Je, K., Vo, T., Lin, H., Partridge, B. E., Huang, Z., Glotzer, S. C., Mirkin, C. A. 2024; 383 (6680): 312-319


    Generating space-filling arrangements of most discrete polyhedra nanostructures of the same shape is not possible. However, if the appropriate individual building blocks are selected (e.g., cubes), or multiple shapes of the appropriate dimensions are matched (e.g., octahedra and tetrahedra) and their pairing interactions are subsequently forced, space-filled architectures may be possible. With flexible molecular ligands (polyethylene glycol-modified DNA), the shape of a polyhedral nanoparticle can be deliberately altered and used to realize geometries that favor space tessellation. In this work, 10 new colloidal crystals were synthesized from DNA-modified nanocrystal building blocks that differed in shapes and sizes, designed to form space-filling architectures with micron-scale dimensions. The insights and capabilities provided by this new strategy substantially expand the scope of colloidal crystals possible and provide an expanded tool kit for researchers interested in designing metamaterials.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.adj1021

    View details for PubMedID 38236974

  • Colloidal quasicrystals engineered with DNA. Nature materials Zhou, W., Lim, Y., Lin, H., Lee, S., Li, Y., Huang, Z., Du, J. S., Lee, B., Wang, S., Sanchez-Iglesias, A., Grzelczak, M., Liz-Marzan, L. M., Glotzer, S. C., Mirkin, C. A. 2023


    In principle, designing and synthesizing almost any class of colloidal crystal is possible. Nonetheless, the deliberate and rational formation of colloidal quasicrystals has been difficult to achieve. Here we describe the assembly of colloidal quasicrystals by exploiting the geometry of nanoscale decahedra and the programmable bonding characteristics of DNA immobilized on their facets. This process is enthalpy-driven, works over a range of particle sizes and DNA lengths, and is made possible by the energetic preference of the system to maximize DNA duplex formation and favour facet alignment, generating local five- and six-coordinated motifs. This class of axial structures is defined by a square-triangle tiling with rhombus defects and successive on-average quasiperiodic layers exhibiting stacking disorder which provides the entropy necessary for thermodynamic stability. Taken together, these results establish an engineering milestone in the deliberate design of programmable matter.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41563-023-01706-x

    View details for PubMedID 37919350

  • Ultrastrong colloidal crystal metamaterials engineered with DNA. Science advances Li, Y., Jin, H., Zhou, W., Wang, Z., Lin, Z., Mirkin, C. A., Espinosa, H. D. 2023; 9 (39): eadj8103


    Lattice-based constructs, often made by additive manufacturing, are attractive for many applications. Typically, such constructs are made from microscale or larger elements; however, smaller nanoscale components can lead to more unusual properties, including greater strength, lighter weight, and unprecedented resiliencies. Here, solid and hollow nanoparticles (nanoframes and nanocages; frame size: ~15 nanometers) were assembled into colloidal crystals using DNA, and their mechanical strengths were studied. Nanosolid, nanocage, and nanoframe lattices with identical crystal symmetries exhibit markedly different specific stiffnesses and strengths. Unexpectedly, the nanoframe lattice is approximately six times stronger than the nanosolid lattice. Nanomechanical experiments, electron microscopy, and finite element analysis show that this property results from the buckling, densification, and size-dependent strain hardening of nanoframe lattices. Last, these unusual open architectures show that lattices with structural elements as small as 15 nanometers can retain a high degree of strength, and as such, they represent target components for making and exploring a variety of miniaturized devices.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.adj8103

    View details for PubMedID 37774024

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10541499

  • Dynamic Metal-Phenolic Coordination Complexes for Versatile Surface Nanopatterning. Journal of the American Chemical Society Chen, C., Lin, M., Wahl, C., Li, Y., Zhou, W., Wang, Z., Zhang, Y., Mirkin, C. A. 2023; 145 (14): 7974-7982


    We report a general nanopatterning strategy that takes advantage of the dynamic coordination bonds between polyphenols and metal ions (e.g., Fe3+ and Cu2+) to create structures on surfaces with a range of properties. With this methodology, under acidic conditions, 29 metal-phenolic complex-based precursors composed of different polyphenols and metal ions are patterned using scanning probe and large-area cantilever free nanolithography techniques, resulting in a library of deposited metal-phenolic nanopatterns. Significantly, post-treatment of the patterns under basic conditions (i.e., ammonia vapor) triggers a change in coordination state and results in the in situ generation of more stable networks firmly attached to the underlying substrates. The methodology provides control over feature size, shape, and composition, almost regardless of substrate (e.g., Si, Au, and silicon nitride). Under reducing conditions (i.e., H2) at elevated temperatures (180-600 °C), the patterned features have been used as nanoreactors to synthesize individual metal nanoparticles. At room temperature, the ammonia-treated features can reduce Ag+ to form metal nanostructures and be modified with peptides, proteins, and thiolated DNA via Michael addition and/or Schiff base reaction. The generality of this technique should make it useful for a wide variety of researchers interested in modifying surfaces for catalytic, chemical and biological sensing, and template-directed assembly purposes.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/jacs.2c13515

    View details for PubMedID 36975188

  • Open-channel metal particle superlattices. Nature Li, Y., Zhou, W., Tanriover, I., Hadibrata, W., Partridge, B. E., Lin, H., Hu, X., Lee, B., Liu, J., Dravid, V. P., Aydin, K., Mirkin, C. A. 2022; 611 (7937): 695-701


    Although tremendous advances have been made in preparing porous crystals from molecular precursors1,2, there are no general ways of designing and making topologically diversified porous colloidal crystals over the 10-1,000 nm length scale. Control over porosity in this size range would enable the tailoring of molecular absorption and storage, separation, chemical sensing, catalytic and optical properties of such materials. Here, a universal approach for synthesizing metallic open-channel superlattices with pores of 10 to 1,000 nm from DNA-modified hollow colloidal nanoparticles (NPs) is reported. By tuning hollow NP geometry and DNA design, one can adjust crystal pore geometry (pore size and shape) and channel topology (the way in which pores are interconnected). The assembly of hollow NPs is driven by edge-to-edge rather than face-to-face DNA-DNA interactions. Two new design rules describing this assembly regime emerge from these studies and are then used to synthesize 12 open-channel superlattices with control over crystal symmetry, channel geometry and topology. The open channels can be selectively occupied by guests of the appropriate size and that are modified with complementary DNA (for example, Au NPs).

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-022-05291-y

    View details for PubMedID 36289344

    View details for PubMedCentralID 7145355

  • Monolayer Plasmonic Nanoframes as Large-Area, Broadband Metasurface Absorbers. Small (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany) Li, Y., Tanriover, I., Zhou, W., Hadibrata, W., Dereshgi, S. A., Samanta, D., Aydin, K., Mirkin, C. A. 2022; 18 (33): e2201171


    Broadband absorbers are useful ultraviolet protection, energy harvesting, sensing, and thermal imaging. The thinner these structures are, the more device-relevant they become. However, it is difficult to synthesize ultrathin absorbers in a scalable and straightforward manner. A general and straightforward synthetic strategy for preparing ultrathin, broadband metasurface absorbers that do not rely on cumbersome lithographic steps is reported. These materials are prepared through the surface-assembly of plasmonic octahedral nanoframes (NFs) into large-area ordered monolayers via drop-casting with subsequent air-drying at room temperature. This strategy is used to produce three types of ultrathin broadband absorbers with thicknesses of ≈200 nm and different lattice symmetries (loose hexagonal, twisted hexagonal, dense hexagonal), all of which exhibit efficient light absorption (≈90%) across wavelengths ranging from 400-800 nm. Their broadband absorption is attributed to the hollow morphologies of the NFs, the incorporation of a high-loss material (i.e., Pt), and the strong field enhancement resulting from surface assembly. The broadband absorption is found to be polarization-independent and maintained for a wide range of incidence angles (±45°). The ability to design and fabricate broadband metasurface absorbers using this high-throughput surface-based assembly strategy is a significant step toward the large-scale, rapid manufacturing of nanophotonic structures and devices.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/smll.202201171

    View details for PubMedID 35859524

  • Corner-, edge-, and facet-controlled growth of nanocrystals. Science advances Li, Y., Lin, H., Zhou, W., Sun, L., Samanta, D., Mirkin, C. A. 2021; 7 (3)


    The ability to precisely control nanocrystal (NC) shape and composition is useful in many fields, including catalysis and plasmonics. Seed-mediated strategies have proven effective for preparing a wide variety of structures, but a poor understanding of how to selectively grow corners, edges, and facets has limited the development of a general strategy to control structure evolution. Here, we report a universal synthetic strategy for directing the site-specific growth of anisotropic seeds to prepare a library of designer nanostructures. This strategy leverages nucleation energy barrier profiles and the chemical potential of the growth solution to control the site-specific growth of NCs into exotic shapes and compositions. This strategy can be used to not only control where growth occurs on anisotropic seeds but also control the exposed facets of the newly grown regions. NCs of many shapes are synthesized, including over 10 here-to-fore never reported NCs and, in principle, many others are possible.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.abf1410

    View details for PubMedID 33523912

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7810373

  • Position- and Orientation-Controlled Growth of Wulff-Shaped Colloidal Crystals Engineered with DNA. Advanced materials (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) Sun, L., Lin, H., Li, Y., Zhou, W., Du, J. S., Mirkin, C. A. 2020; 32 (47): e2005316


    Colloidal crystals have emerged as promising candidates for building optical microdevices. Techniques now exist for synthesizing them with control over their nanoscale features (e.g., particle compositions, sizes, shapes, and lattice parameters and symmetry); however, the ability to tune macroscale structural features, such as the relative positions of crystals to one another and lattice orientations, has yet to be realized. Here, inspiration is drawn from epitaxial growth strategies in atomic crystallization, and patterned substrates are prepared that, when used in conjunction with DNA-mediated nanoparticle crystallization, allow for control over individual Wulff-shaped crystal growth, location, and orientation. In addition, the approach allows exquisite control over the patterned substrate/crystal lattice mismatch, something not yet realized for any epitaxy process. This level of structural control is a significant step toward realizing complex, integrated devices with colloidal crystal components, and this approach provides a model system for further exploration in epitaxy systems.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/adma.202005316

    View details for PubMedID 33089533

  • Constructing conductive multi-walled carbon nanotubes network inside hexagonal boron nitride network in polymer composites for significantly improved dielectric property and thermal conductivity COMPOSITES SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Wu, K., Li, Y., Huang, R., Chai, S., Chen, F., Fu, Q. 2017; 151: 193-201