Pursuing colloidal diamonds†
The endeavor to selectively fabricate a cubic diamond is challenging due to the formation of competing phases such as its hexagonal polymorph or others possessing similar free energy. The necessity to achieve this is of paramount importance since the cubic diamond is the only polymorph exhibiting a complete photonic bandgap, making it a promising candidate in view of photonic applications. Herein, we demonstrate that due to the presence of an external field and delicate manipulation of its strength we can attain selectivity in the formation of a cubic diamond in a one-component system comprised of designer tetrahedral patchy particles. The driving force of such a phenomenon is the structure of the first adlayer which is commensurate with the (110) face of the cubic diamond. Moreover, after a successful nucleation event, once the external field is turned off, the structure remains stable, paving an avenue for further post-synthetic treatment.