Information, dissipation, and paths to self-assembling active materials
Jason R. Green, Ph.D.
Department of Chemistry
Department of Physics
University of Massachusetts Boston
Host: George Kaminski, Ph.D.
Molecular self-assembly has practical promise as a simple technique to synthesize complex materials. When fueled by chemistry, the assembly process can form active materials with the ability to create, sustain, regulate, and destroy their structure. Hydrogels, for example, have a fibrous network with tunable properties that make them promising drug delivery systems and biosensing gels. Their structure, however, is only formed transiently while fuel is consumed and energy is dissipated. To control this type of ephemeral pattern formation, it is challenging to discern which pathways of the assembling system are statistically significant, among the myriad possibilities, and to control the products that are accessible. This talk will describe our theoretical studies directed at understanding the paths that self-organizing systems travel, how nonequilibrium forces collectively drive structure formation, and how these paths yield clues about the design of dissipative self-assembling systems.