Col oidal Crystallization via Applied Fields
Tieying Gong, David Wu, and David W.M. Marr
Summary: The use of external fields to produce three-dimensional crystals of colloid-sized
Description: This invention relates to a method that uses electric fields to induce colloidal
crystallization from isotropic colloidal suspensions. This method relies on the application of an
electric field across a narrow gap filled with concentrated colloidal suspension. At gap widths
significantly larger than the colloid, lateral variations in the electric field are used to induce
dielectrophoresis and the formation of the three-dimensional ordered colloidal crystals. The
three-dimensional colloidal crystals formation is fully reversible. Upon removal of the field, the
ordered structure melts into an isotropic colloidal suspension. Upon reapplication of the field,
crystals quickly reform. The crystals are mechanically quite stable and also exhibit excellent
optical properties. This method can also be used for the crystallization of proteins that cannot
be crystallized via standard approaches.
Main Advantages of this Invention
 Formation mechanism is reversible
and occurs over short time scales
 Nucleation of crystals can be
carefully controlled
Potential Areas of Application
 Diffraction based sensors
 Photovoltaics
 Medical research
ID number: 4001
Publication: T. Gong et al., Langmuir 2003, 19, 5967-5970.
Intel ectual Property Status: US 7,704,320
Opportunity: We are seeking an exclusive or non-exclusive licensee for marketing,
manufacturing, and sale of this technology.
For more information contact:
William Vaughan, Director of Technology Transfer
Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois Street, Guggenheim Hall Suite 314, Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303-384-2555; e-mail: