Argonne National Laboratory

Computational Self-Assembly of a One-Component Icosahedral Quasicrystal

TitleComputational Self-Assembly of a One-Component Icosahedral Quasicrystal
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsEngel, M, Damasceno, PF, Phillips, CL, Glotzer, SC
JournalNature Materials
Date PublishedDecember 8, 2014
Other NumbersANL/MCS-P5263-1214
AbstractIcosahedral quasicrystals (IQCs) are a form of matter that is ordered but not periodic in any direction. All reported IQCs are intermetallic compounds and either of face-centred-icosahedral or primitive-icosahedral type, and the positions of their atoms have been resolved from diffraction data. However, unlike axially symmetric quasicrystals, IQCs have not been observed in non-atomic (that is, micellar or nanoparticle) systems, where real-space information would be directly available. Here, we show that an IQC can be assembled by means of molecular dynamics simulations from a one-component system of particles interacting via a tunable, isotropic pair potential extending only to the third-neighbour shell. The IQC is body-centred, self- assembles from a fluid phase, and in parameter space neighbours clathrates and other tetrahedrally bonded crystals. Our findings elucidate the structure and dynamics of the IQC, and suggest routes to search for it and design it in soft matter and nanoscale systems.