Scientists uncover principles of universal self-assembly

For years, researchers have searched for the working principles of self-assembly that can build a cell (a complex biological organism) as well as a crystal (a far simpler inorganic material) in the same way.

How molecules self-assemble into superstructures

Most technical functional units are built bit by bit according to a well-designed construction plan. The components are sequentially put in place by humans or machines. Life, however, is based on a different principle. It ...

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Self-assembly

Self-assembly is a term used to describe processes in which a disordered system of pre-existing components forms an organized structure or pattern as a consequence of specific, local interactions among the components themselves, without external direction.

Self-assembly can be classified as either static or dynamic. In static self-assembly, the ordered state forms as a system approaches equilibrium, reducing its free energy. However in dynamic self-assembly, patterns of pre-existing components organized by specific local interactions are not commonly described as "self-assembled" by scientists in the associated disciplines. These structures are better described as "self-organized".

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