Periodic micro- and nanostructures are of importance in a variety of fields, including photonic crystals, phononic crystals, data storage devices, fuel cells, microfluidics, biosensors, tissue engineering, optical devices, impact absorption microtrusses, plasmonic metamaterials, and energy applications including solar photovoltaics.
Although there are extensive ongoing investigations on functional micro- and nanoperiodic structures, there is at present no system to comprehensively classify, store, process, and analyze the various functional structures that are continually emerging from these exciting research areas.
Structure database systems have been established for proteins, chemicals, crystal structures, minerals, biotechnology information, standard references, and drug designs. There has been an effort to design a unified nomenclature for engineered discrete nanoparticles, which includes the composition, size, shape, core, ligand chemistry, and solubility.
In his article, Thomas and first author Lin Jia propose a database system which connects the morphologies, fabrication technologies, and physical properties of various 2- and 3D periodic and quasiperiodic functional micro- and nanostructures. The advantages of the database system include: 1) enabling the design of lithographic procedures for fabricating a given target structure; 2) finding the structure with an extremized objective function; and 3) analyzing the impact of the morphology on various physical properties.