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.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research
    | Open Access

    Structural colors are often produced by periodic structured materials leading to the constructive interference of light waves. Here, the authors report control of structural color and light transmission via a colloidal gel and dynamic coloration with a precise wavelength selectivity over a broad range of wavelengths by taking advantage of the Christiansen effect.

    • Yuyin Xi
    • , Fan Zhang
    •  & Yun Liu
  • Research |

    A study demonstrates the rational de novo design of water-soluble assemblies constructed from long 310-helical peptides, and details their characterization by circular dichroism spectroscopy, analytical ultracentrifugation and X-ray crystallography.

    • Prasun Kumar
    • , Neil G. Paterson
    •  & Derek N. Woolfson
    Nature, 1-6
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Sequential energy transfer is ubiquitous in natural light harvesting systems, but most artificial mimics have unsatisfactory energy transfer efficiency. Here, authors synthesize a sequential energy transfer system with overall efficiency of 87.4% via supramolecular copolymerization mimicking the aggregation mode of bacteriochlorophyll pigments in green photosynthetic bacteria.

    • Yifei Han
    • , Xiaolong Zhang
    •  & Feng Wang
  • Research
    | Open Access

    The self-assembly of molecular knots in water is challenging. Here, authors report the self-assembly of a trefoil knot in water via imine condensation, without relying on external templates; the handedness of the trefoil knot is determined by the chirality of the bisamino precursor.

    • Ye Lei
    • , Zhaoyong Li
    •  & Hao Li
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Several biomaterials have been promised as suitable candidates for photonic materials and pigments, but their fabrication processes have been limited to the small to medium-scale production of films. Here, the authors demonstrate a substrate-free process to fabricate structurally coloured microparticles via the confined self-assembly of a cholesteric cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) suspension within emulsified microdroplets.

    • Richard M. Parker
    • , Tianheng H. Zhao
    •  & Silvia Vignolini

News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    Lipid nanodiscs carrying a potent STING agonist penetrate deep into solid tumours compared with gold-standard liposomes and enable long-term antitumour immunotherapy.

    • Ningqiang Gong
    •  & Michael J. Mitchell
    Nature Materials 21, 616-617
  • 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