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 |

    In biological systems, order typically emerges from out-of-equilibrium molecular processes that control both static patterns and dynamic changes. Now, the self-regulating assembly and disassembly of a synthetic system has been achieved on the micrometre scale, by coupling the growth of a DNA nanotube to a biochemical oscillator.

    • Tim Liedl
    Nature Chemistry 11, 497-499
  • News and Views |

    The structure of self-assembled aggregates depends critically on the manner in which the building blocks organize themselves. Now, such a self-assembly process has been monitored in situ using liquid-phase transmission electron microscopy, unveiling a new pathway of vesicle formation.

    • Arash Nikoubashman
    •  & Friederike Schmid
    Nature Chemistry 11, 298-300
  • Research Highlights |

    New experiments on swarms of Caenorhabditis elegans reveal that the worm can form a dynamical network that can be understood using active matter physics, and controlled using genetic manipulation.

    • Zoe Budrikis
  • News and Views |

    Knots have been rigorously studied since the 1860s, but only in the past 30 years have they been made in the laboratory in molecular form. Now, the most complex small-molecule examples so far — a composite knot and an isomeric link, each with nine crossings — have been prepared.

    • Edward E. Fenlon
    Nature Chemistry 10, 1078-1079
  • News and Views |

    A phase-separated state is observed with single-stranded DNA composed of ‘polymeric’ blocks and exploited to programme the assembly of micrometre-sized all-DNA colloidal particles.

    • Chad A. Mirkin
    •  & Sarah Hurst Petrosko
    Nature Nanotechnology 13, 624-625