The self assembly of discrete objects on the nano- to micrometre length scale can take place via a wide range of routes. For example, virus capsids self-organise with elegant efficiency from multiple copies of the same protein, while the latest innovations in artificial self assembly have succeeded (against expectations) in directing a unique building block to each site in the structure. This latter development is a stride towards fully "programmable" self assembly, where every site is individually addressed and full control is exerted over the assembly pathway. In this talk I will introduce an idealised model of cubic particles with patterned interactions that allows various strategies for self assembly to be tested in the context of the thermodynamic and kinetic challenges that successful self assembly must overcome. Along the way, a number of tools must be developed, including simulations that capture appropriate dynamics, and methods for interpreting the trajectories that emerge.
Dr Miller is senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Durham