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Science. 1999 May 7;284(5416):948-51.

Design and self-assembly of open, regular, 3D mesostructures

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Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University, 12 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


Self-assembly provides the basis for a procedure used to organize millimeter-scale objects into regular, three-dimensional arrays ("crystals") with open structures. The individual components are designed and fabricated of polyurethane by molding; selected faces are coated with a thin film of liquid, metallic alloy. Under mild agitation in warm, aqueous potassium bromide solution, capillary forces between the films of alloy cause self-assembly. The structures of the resulting, self-assembled arrays are determined by structural features of the component parts: the three-dimensional shape of the components, the pattern of alloy on their surfaces, and the shape of the alloy-coated surfaces. Self-assembly of appropriately designed chiral pieces generates helices.

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