In some embodiments, DNA-capped nanoparticles are used to define a degree of crystalline order in assemblies thereof. In some embodiments, thermodynamically reversible and stable body-centered cubic (bcc) structures, with particles occupying <.about.10% of the unit cell, are formed. Designs and pathways amenable to the crystallization of particle assemblies are identified. In some embodiments, a plasmonic crystal is provided. In some aspects, a method for controlling the properties of particle assemblages is provided. In some embodiments a catalyst is formed from nanoparticles linked by nucleic acid sequences and forming an open crystal structure with catalytically active agents attached to the crystal on its surface or in interstices.