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Issue 5, 2001
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Applying biological principles to the assembly and selection of synthetic superstructures

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It has become clear over the past two decades that, in order to create functional synthetic nanoscale structures, the chemist must exploit a fundamental understanding of the self-assembly of large-scale biological structures, which exist and function at and beyond the nanoscale. This mode of construction of nanoscale structures and nanosystems represents the so-called ‘bottom-up’ or ‘engineering-up’ approach to fabrication. Significant progress has been made in the development of nanoscience by transferring concepts found in the biological world into the chemical arena. The development of simple chemical systems that are capable of instructing their own organisation into large aggregates of molecules through their mutual recognition properties has been central to this success. By utilising a diverse array of intermolecular interactions as the information source for assembly processes, chemists have successfully applied biological concepts in the construction of complex nanoscale structures and superstructures with a variety of forms and functions. More recently, the utility of assembly processes has been extended through the realisation that recognition processes can be used to select a single structure from a library of equilibrating structures. These developments open the way for the design and implementation of artificial assembly processes that are capable of adapting themselves to the local environment in which they are conducted.

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Publication details

The article was received on 05 Jun 2001 and first published on 08 Aug 2001

Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/B104962N
Citation: Chem. Soc. Rev., 2001,30, 287-302
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    Applying biological principles to the assembly and selection of synthetic superstructures

    L. M. Greig and D. Philp, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2001, 30, 287
    DOI: 10.1039/B104962N

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