Self-assembly
Paul F. Nealey, University of Wisconsin

Self-assembly is one of the most important modern strategies for fabrication and manufacturing of man-made materials and devices at the micrometer and nanometer length scales. Natural systems employ self-assembly ubiquitously as a strategy to build complex functional structures; the development of many self-assembling materials and processes in the synthetic world is often inspired by biology. Typical processes involve molecules or supra molecular entities that have complimentary chemical or physical attributes that lead to spontaneous formation of desirable structures. Common attributes of the materials and structures is that the forces that govern self-assembly are small, and the resulting assemblies represent thermodynamic minima, tend to be highly uniform, and in many instances, are self-healing. Examples include quasi-crystalline monolayers of short-chain organic molecules (self-assembled monolayers (SAMs)) to control the properties of surfaces for applications ranging from reduction of friction to cell biology, assembly of colloidal particles and nanoparticles into ordered arrays for photonics, plasmonics, and photovoltaics, and use of DNA building blocks for three-dimensional nano-patterning. As science and engineering research communities seek to capitalize on self-assembly for near-term applications, it is often advantageous to combine self-assembling materials and concepts with traditional fabrication techniques such as lithography developed by and for the microelectronics industry. In this session a broad spectrum of research activities will be presented, from the design and synthesis of molecules and structures that are capable of self-assembling in two and three-dimensions, to applications of these materials in electronics, energy, medicine and beyond.

Review Article:

Directed Self-Assembly, Gordon S. W. Craig and Paul F. Nealey, Nanofabrication Handbook. Edited by Stefano Cabrini and Satoshi Kawata © 2012 CRC Press / Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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