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 & Views |

    The rational synthesis of organic nanotubes and their hierarchical architectures has remained challenging. Now, one-dimensional hollow covalent organic frameworks have been prepared that can further assemble into toroid-shaped materials.

    • Gabrielle A. Leith
    •  & Natalia B. Shustova
    Nature Chemistry 14, 485-486
  • News & Views |

    Why do bulky anions solubilize macromolecules in water but precipitate out the corresponding monomers? The answer lies in the differences in local water structure. Polymers have now been shown to disrupt water structure more than their monomers, leading to an accumulation of anions near the polymers that increases their solubility.

    • Aniket U. Thosar
    •  & Amish J. Patel
    Nature Chemistry 14, 8-10
  • Research Highlights |

    Cyanuric acid (CA) derivatives can co-assemble with polyadenine sequences to form a triple helical DNA-based structure bearing functional groups able to guide higher ordered architectures.

    • Colette Whitfield
  • News & Views |

    A new class of interwoven metal–organic containers, including one with a cubic architecture, twelve crossing points and a large internal volume, has now been reported. Interconversion between different self-assembled structures can be triggered by simply exchanging the associated anions.

    • Andrew W. Heard
    • , Natasha M. A. Speakman
    •  & Jonathan R. Nitschke
    Nature Chemistry 13, 824-826
  • Research Highlights |

    Researchers design DNA shells to trap virus particles and thus prevent interactions between viruses and host cells.

    • Lei Tang
    Nature Methods 18, 857
  • News & Views |

    Light-activated protein actuators composed of bioengineered motors and molecular scaffolds achieve millimetre-scale mechanical work, which holds promise for microrobotics applications.

    • Henry Hess
    Nature Materials 20, 1040-1041