DNA- and AC electric field-assisted assembly of 2D colloidal photonic crystals and their controlled defect insertion

Date of Completion

January 2006


Chemistry, Polymer|Engineering, Materials Science




Photonic crystals (PC) are structures in which the refractive index is a periodic function in space. The ability of photonic crystals to localize and manipulate electromagnetic waves has attracted considerable attention from the scientific community. The self-assembly of monodisperse micrometer scale colloidal spheres into hexagonal closed-packed colloidal crystals provides a simple, fast, and cheap materials chemistry approach to PCs. ^ Employing DNA supramolecular recognition, 2-dimensional (2D) photonic crystal monolayer was fabricated with monodisperse polystyrene colloidal microspheres. Amine-terminated DNA oligomers were covalently attached onto carboxy-decorated microspheres and enabled their DNA-functionalization while preserving their colloidal stability and organization properties. Following a capillary-force-assisted organization of DNA-decorated microspheres into close-packed 2D opaline arrays, the first monolayer was immobilized by DNA hybridization. ^ Insertion of vacancies at predetermined sites within the lattice of colloidal crystals is a prerequisite in order to realize high-quality, opaline-based photonic devices. The previously obtained DNA-hybridization type binding of 2D-opaline arrays provides a heat-sensitive "adhesive" between substrate and microspheres within a surrounding aqueous medium that enables tuning the hybridization strength of DNA linker as well as a mechanism to facilitate the removal of unbound microspheres. Focusing a laser beam onto a single microsphere of the opaline array induces localized heating that enables the microsphere to detach, leaving behind vacancies. By repeating this process, line vacancies were successfully obtained. The effects of salt concentration, laser power, light-absorbing dyes, DNA length and refractive index mismatch were investigated and found to correlate with heat-induced DNA dehybridization. ^ In addition, AC (alternating current) electrokinetic force was also utilized to obtain assembly of colloidal single crystal monolayer in microfluidic chamber. Dielectrophoretic (DEP) force with high frequency electric field induced compression of colloidal microspheres to form colloidal crystal domain at the center of hexapolar shape electrode. DEP-compression/relaxation-cycle-induced aging process significantly facilitated crystal growth of 10 μm monodispersed polystyrene microsphere, allowing grain boundary-free single crystalline monolayer domain of c.a. 200 μm size. Microsphere size as well as size distribution affected the formation of such a single crystalline domain. Utilizing non-ionic polyacrylamide, such a single crystalline domain was successfully immobilized onto the glass substrate without loosing its crystallinity. ^