Self Assembly

  • Freiburg Researchers Show How to Control Individual Components of Self-Assembling Molecular Structures

    Exposure to light releases the molecule ATP. It provides the energy for an enzyme (blue) that joins DNA building blocks into a strand. Another enzyme (green) separates the strand at these binding sites so that the strand is dynamically lengthened and shortened. Illustration: Michal Rössler

    In the development of autonomous systems and materials, self-assembling molecular structures controlled by chemical reaction networks are increasingly important. However, there is a lack of simple external mechanisms that ensure that the components of these reaction networks can be activated in a controlled manner.
    A research team led by Prof. Dr. Andreas Walther and Prof. Dr. Henning Jessen from the Cluster of Excellence Living, Adaptive and Energy-autonomous Materials Systems (livMatS) and Jie Deng from the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry at the University of Freiburg are the first to show how individual components of self-assembling DNA-based structures can be activated and controlled using light-reactive photo switches. The researchers have published their results in the journal Angewandte Chemie.

  • Graphene aids optical study of dye molecules

    Graphene aids optical study of dye molecules | Figure: Regular arrangements of dye molecules on graphene. Top: The particular dye molecule used in the study. Image reproduced from original publication.

    By using graphene as substrate, dye molecules self-assemble and form monolayers of high regularity. This increases their optical properties significantly.

  • Reprogramming of Macroscopic Self-Assembly With Dynamic Boundaries

    Figure: Dynamically moving hard boundaries confine mobile magnetic particles into reprogrammable 2D self-assembled patterns. Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

    Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart aim to understand the underlying process of self-assembly. Their findings not only provide valuable insights into fundamental physics, but could enable the design of functional materials or self-assembled miniature robots.

    Stuttgart – Self-assembly is an autonomous process where complex and functional structures are created in a bottom-up manner by the organization of a large set of components. Each component locally interacts with the others to create patterns, often with an unknown outcome: in the end, the patterns do not necessarily have a pre-conceived design.