Materials Science

Autonomous Mesoscale Positioning Emerging from Spatiotemporally Controlled Coupling Between Self-Assembly and Gradient-Driven Molecular Fluxes

Authors

Abstract

Out-of-equilibrium molecular systems hold great promise as dynamic, reconfigurable matter that executes complex tasks autonomously. However, translating molecular scale dynamics into spatiotemporally controlled phenomena at mesoscopic length scales remains a challenge. In living cells, reliable positioning processes such as the centering of the centrosome involve forces that result from dissipative self-assembly. We demonstrate how spatiotemporal positioning emerges in synthetic systems where self-assembly is coupled to molecular fluxes originating from concentration gradients. At the core of our system are millimeter long self-assembled filaments and Marangoni flows induced by non-uniform amphiphile distributions. We demonstrate how repulsive and attractive forces that are generated as filaments organize between source and drain droplets sustain autonomous positioning of dynamic assemblies at the mesoscale. Our concepts provide a new paradigm for the development of non-equilibrium matter with spatiotemporal programmability.

Content

Thumbnail image of Main text.pdf

Supplementary material

Thumbnail image of Autonomous mesoscale positioning.png
Autonomous mesoscale positioning
Thumbnail image of Movie 1 - Filament growth from source droplet.mov
Movie 1 - Filament growth from source droplet
Thumbnail image of Movie 2 - Filament absorption at drain droplet.mov
Movie 2 - Filament absorption at drain droplet
Thumbnail image of Movie 3 - Source - drain droplet interaction in 3 different regimes.mov
Movie 3 - Source - drain droplet interaction in 3 different regimes
Thumbnail image of Movie 4 - Droplet and filament self-organization in hexagon.mp4
Movie 4 - Droplet and filament self-organization in hexagon
Thumbnail image of Movie 5 - Recovery of self-organization to perturbation.mp4
Movie 5 - Recovery of self-organization to perturbation
Thumbnail image of Movie 6 - Autonomous centring in a 3-droplet system.mp4
Movie 6 - Autonomous centring in a 3-droplet system
Thumbnail image of Movie 7 - 3 droplets with filaments self-organizing into a line.mp4
Movie 7 - 3 droplets with filaments self-organizing into a line
Thumbnail image of Supplementary Information.pdf
Supplementary Information