Self-Assembly and Surfaces

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Lipid molecules forming a cell membrane

Imagine that you could throw some bricks, piping, wires and wood onto a plot of land and all the parts spontaneously arranged themselves into a house. The self-assembly of this house would certainly be amazing, but nature has been automatically arranging in this way for ages. Self-assembly can range from nanoparticles packing together to form opal to lipid molecules arranging to form a cell membrane. Scientists are studying methods of self-assembly in order to synthesize nanomaterials from small building blocks.

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