Dissipative Self-Assembly Driven by the Consumption of Chemical Fuels

Soumen De, Rafal Klajn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Dissipative self-assembly leads to structures and materials that exist away from equilibrium by continuously exchanging energy and materials with the external environment. Although this mode of self-assembly is ubiquitous in nature, where it gives rise to functions such as signal processing, motility, self-healing, self-replication, and ultimately life, examples of dissipative self-assembly processes in man-made systems are few and far between. Herein, recent progress in developing diverse synthetic dissipative self-assembly systems is discussed. The systems reported thus far can be categorized into three classes, in which: i) the fuel chemically modifies the building blocks, thus triggering their self-assembly, ii) the fuel acts as a template interacting with the building blocks noncovalently, and iii) transient states are induced by the addition of two mutually exclusive stimuli. These early studies give rise to materials that would be difficult to obtain otherwise, including hydrogels with programmable lifetimes, vesicular nanoreactors, and membranes exhibiting transient conductivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1706750
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - Oct 11 2018


  • chemical fuels
  • energy dissipation
  • self-assembly
  • transient nanostructures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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