Synthetic diamond and wurtzite structures self-assemble with isotropic pair interactions

Mikael C. Rechtsman, Frank H. Stillinger, Salvatore Torquato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Using inverse statistical-mechanical optimization techniques, we have discovered isotropic pair interaction potentials with strongly repulsive cores that cause the tetrahedrally coordinated diamond and wurtzite lattices to stabilize, as evidenced by lattice sums, phonon spectra, positive-energy defects, and self-assembly in classical molecular dynamics simulations. These results challenge conventional thinking that such open lattices can only be created via directional covalent interactions observed in nature. Thus, our discovery adds to fundamental understanding of the nature of the solid state by showing that isotropic interactions enable the self-assembly of open crystal structures with a broader range of coordination number than previously thought. Our work is important technologically because of its direct relevance generally to the science of self-assembly and specifically to photonic crystal fabrication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number031403
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 26 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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