Universal dissipative self-assembly: From quantum dots to colloids, microorganisms, and human cells
Abstract: Self-assembly research has started with a question: Can we design and build planned structures and functionalities, starting from simple building blocks? A vast body of work points to the possibility of this approach. However, the demonstrations so far suffer from being extremely specific solutions. Change, e.g., the material or the experimental conditions slightly and to repeat the same achievement, takes months/years. The question is: Can self-assembly methodologies transcend the specificity of the systems that are being studied? In this talk, I will argue that fundamental principles of universal self-assembly lie in the intrinsic physical mechanisms, namely, nonlinearity, fluctuations, and feedback that drive and control self-assembly processes. I will showcase this approach on a diverse spectrum of materials starting from simple, passive, identical quantum dots up to complex, active, non-identical human cells with sophisticated internal dynamics. Then, I will demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach, using completely different experimental settings and materials.