We propose a model that can account for the experimentally observed phase behavior of DNA-nanoparticle assemblies [R. Jin et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 125, 1643 (2003); T. A. Taton et al., Science 289, 1757 (2000)]. The binding of DNA-coated nanoparticles by dissolved DNA linkers can be described by exploiting an analogy with quantum particles obeying fractional statistics. In accordance with experimental findings, we predict that the phase-separation temperature of the nanocolloids increases with the DNA coverage of the colloidal surface. Upon the addition of salt, the demixing temperature increases logarithmically with the salt concentration. Our analysis suggests an experimental strategy to map microscopic DNA sequences onto the macroscopic phase behavior of the DNA-nanoparticle solutions. Such an approach should enhance the efficiency of methods to detect (single) mutations in specific DNA sequences.

Phys. Rev. Lett.

Lukatsky, D. B., & Frenkel, D. (2004). Phase behavior and selectivity of DNA-linked nanoparticle assemblies. Phys.Rev.Lett., 92(Article number: 68302), 1–4. doi:10.1103/physrevlett.92.068302