Self-assembly is the process by which an organized structure spontaneously forms from individual components, as a result of specific, local interactions among the components. When the constitutive components are molecules, the process is termed molecular self-assembly.


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  • News and Views |

    It’s not known how life’s essential properties of replication, metabolism and compartmentalization were first integrated. Two recent articles now shed light on how metabolic characteristics may be incorporated into replicating systems, harnessing an external energy source to increase their rate of replication and acquiring catalytic activity.

    • Pablo Solís-Muñana
    •  & Jack L. Y. Chen
    Nature Chemistry 12, 585-587
  • News and Views |

    Programmable DNA hybridization is used to mediate the self-assembly of substrate-bound DNA-grafted gold nanoparticles into single-crystalline Winterbottom and non-Winterbottom constructions with particular size, shape and orientation.

    • Chang Liu
    •  & Qian Chen
    Nature Materials 19, 704-705
  • News and Views |

    A series of mesoscale supramolecular hexagonal grids have been constructed in solution through stepwise intra- then intermolecular coordination-driven self-assembly, and characterized with atomic resolution by scanning tunnelling microscopy and spectroscopy.

    • Ruoning Li
    •  & Yongfeng Wang
    Nature Chemistry 12, 431-432
  • News and Views |

    Equilibrium self-assembly processes find free-energy minima but no such general statement holds for systems driven out of equilibrium. A new study has employed laser-induced convective flows to achieve dissipative self-assembly across multiple scales with universal growth and fluctuation statistics.

    • Gili Bisker
    Nature Physics 16, 707-708
  • News and Views |

    A balance between order and disorder provides living materials with just the right amount of disorder needed to sustain life. This feature is currently not found in synthetic materials. Now, a route to the production of composite membranes that are simultaneously stiff and reconfigurable upon contact has been developed.

    • Ankit Jain
    •  & Rein V. Ulijn
    Nature Chemistry 12, 428-429
  • News and Views |

    Magnetite crystals form by the aggregation and subsequent merger of crystalline precursors, which can be interpreted in terms of colloidal assembly.

    • Jeffrey D. Rimer
    Nature Materials 19, 375-376