New model gives better control of self-assembly processes

Oct 10, 2013
New model gives better control of self-assembly processes
Researchers Peter Korevaar (left) and Tom de Greef. Credit: Bart van Overbeeke

Researchers at ICMS (Institute for Complex Molecular Systems, Eindhoven University of Technology) have developed a new model that allows better control of self-assembly, the process through which molecules aggregate by themselves into larger clusters. This model could be used in the production of plastic solar cells, and is an interesting step in the long‑term process of developing a synthetic cell. The research was published online yesterday in the journal PNAS.

Molecular self-assembly is often a matter of trial and error: the basic molecules are brought together and then you just – more or less – have to wait and see if the result has the desired structure. In their publication the TU/e researchers, supervised by prof.dr. Bert Meijer, describe a model that allows better control of the assembly process. Which means the model provides a kind of guide to which parameters need to be changed (for example the temperature, concentration and solvent used) to ensure the right material is assembled.

Plastic solar cells

In this publication the authors show how their model works in an assembly process of two molecules, which together form a material similar to that used for plastic solar cell. The model could find practical application in the near future to optimize the production process for these , as well as for other biomaterials such as hydrogels.

Synthetic cell

This is the first time that a model-based approach has been used to control a self-. According to lead author ir. Peter Korevaar, the added value results from a better understanding of the interactions between the on which the is based. This will allow extension to more complex assembly processes, as well as the prediction of their outcomes, with the building of a synthetic cell as the longer-term goal.

Explore further: New CMI process recycles magnets from factory floor

More information: Korevaar, P. et al., Model-driven optimization of multicomponent self-assembly processes, PNAS (7 October 2013, online). www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/10/02/1310092110

Related Stories

Researchers make droplets dance (w/ Video)

Jul 19, 2013

(Phys.org) —Researchers from Aalto University and Paris Tech have placed water droplets containing magnetic nanoparticles on strong water repellent surfaces and have made them align in various static and ...

Recommended for you

Fuel and chemicals from steel plant exhaust gases

31 minutes ago

Carbon monoxide-rich exhaust gases from steel plants are only being reclaimed to a minor extent as power or heat. Fraunhofer researchers have developed a new recycling process for this materially unused carbon resource: They ...

Self-assembly of molecular Archimedean polyhedra

41 minutes ago

Chemists truly went back to the drawing board to develop new X-shaped organic building blocks that can be linked together by metal ions to form an Archimedean cuboctahedron. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, the sc ...

New method can make cheaper solar energy storage

3 hours ago

Storing solar energy as hydrogen is a promising way for developing comprehensive renewable energy systems. To accomplish this, traditional solar panels can be used to generate an electrical current that splits ...

New CMI process recycles magnets from factory floor

14 hours ago

A new recycling method developed by scientists at the Critical Materials Institute, a U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub led by the Ames Laboratory, recovers valuable rare-earth magnetic material from ...

Chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels

17 hours ago

Carnegie Mellon University chemists have developed two novel methods to characterize 3-dimensional macroporous hydrogels—materials that hold great promise for developing "smart" responsive materials that ...

Substrates change nanoparticle reactivity

23 hours ago

(Phys.org)—Nanoscale materials tend to behave differently than their bulk counterparts. While there are many theories as to why this happens, technological advances in scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.