International Conference on Advances in Environmental and Bio-Technology - AEBT 2014
Author(s) : SUNGKWON YOON , SUNGROK WANG , WILLIAM T. NICHOLS
In this paper we discuss self-assembly as a powerful technique for the synthesis of eco-effective materials. We give three examples that exhibit increasing complexity in the building blocks undergoing self-assembly. In the first case, specific interactions are designed between nanoscale components that assemble up to centimeter scale. This technique however is limited to relatively few components because each component must be controlled separately. To address this issue the second example designs the functionality directly into building blocks that then assemble. This is the design principle used in biological cells. In the basic cell motif: a biological membrane is functionalized for each cell type but all cells assemble under similar conditions. In human engineering, we can't match nature's complexity in cellular building blocks. Accepting this limitation, the third technique uses biological cells directly in the assembly. Here the fully complex biological machinery creates intricate building blocks that can be used in self-assembly. Here we show an example of marine diatoms that are composed of intricate silica shells that assemble into macroscale patterns.