Research Talk: One-Dimensional Staged Self-Assembly

April 5, 2011
12:15pm - 1:00pm
Halligan 127


The field of algorithmic self-assembly is concerned with how to programmatically combine simple objects to construct large, complex superstructures. In practice, nanometer-scale reactive molecules are mixed in solution and spontaneously bond, forming agglomerations of tens to thousands of molecules as a single superstructure.

A natural problem in this area is the `disassembly' problem: given a desired superstructure, find an efficient procedure for building the structure. In this talk I will present a pair of results connecting the disassembly problem in self-assembly to the smallest grammar problem in information theory. I will also speak about the practical and theoretical implications of this connection, including work in designing a web-based tool for solving disassembly problems in the experiment laboratory setting.

Looking forward, extensions of this preliminary work are discussed. Theoretical work in higher dimensions and alternate self-assembly models is proposed. I also describe plans for continued collaborative development of practical wet lab systems informed by the theoretical work.