Diamond glitter: a play of colors with artificial DNA crystals

17 May 2024

Using DNA origami, LMU researchers have built a diamond lattice with a periodicity of hundreds of nanometers – a new approach for manufacturing semiconductors for visible light.

The shimmering of butterfly wings in bright colors does not emerge from pigments. Rather, it is photonic crystals that are responsible for the play of colors. Their periodic nanostructure allows light at certain wavelengths to pass through while reflecting other wavelengths. This causes the wing scales, which are in fact transparent, to appear so magnificently colored. For research teams, the manufacture of artificial photonic crystals for visible light wavelengths has been a major challenge and motivation ever since they were predicted by theorists more than 35 years ago.