Nanoparticle superlattices are periodic arrays of nanoscale inorganic building blocks including metal nanoparticles, quantum dots and magnetic nanoparticles. Such assemblies can exhibit exciting new collective properties different from those of individual nanoparticle or corresponding bulk materials. However, fabrication of nanoparticle superlattices is nontrivial because nanoparticles are notoriously difficult to manipulate due to complex nanoscale forces among them. An effective way to manipulate these nanoscale forces is to use soft ligands, which can prevent nanoparticles from disordered aggregation, fine-tune the interparticle potential as well as program lattice structures and interparticle distances - the two key parameters governing superlattice properties. This article aims to review the up-to-date advances of superlattices from the viewpoint of soft ligands. We first describe the theories and design principles of soft-ligand-based approach and then thoroughly cover experimental techniques developed from soft ligands such as molecules, polymer and DNA. Finally, we discuss the remaining challenges and future perspectives in nanoparticle superlattices.
- Soft ligands