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Physical Processes of Self-Assembly and Pattern Formation

Dozent: Professor Günter Reiter
Vorlesung: 3-stündig, Mo 9:15-10:45, Mi 11:15-12
Übungen dazu: 2-stündig, Mi 16:15-17:45 
Ort: Physik Hochhaus, Raum 315
Beginn: 19.04.2010



Understanding the physics of how molecules or objects put themselves together

Physical laws for making compromises

Questions about how organization and order in various systems arises have been raised since ancient times. The forms we identify around us are only a small sub-set of those theoretically possible. So why don't we see more variety? To answer such a question is the reason why we study self-organization and self-assembly.

The essence of self-assembly is that system structure often appears without explicit involvement from outside the system. Organization results from interactions among the components and can evolve in either time or space, maintain a stable form or show transient phenomena.

Many natural systems show organization (e.g. galaxies, planets, chemical compounds, cells, organisms and societies). We approach the subject by looking for system properties applicable to all such collections of parts, regardless of size or nature. We will consider also dynamic changes that occur over vast numbers of time steps and on various length-scales.

In this course, we will discuss general rules about growth and evolution of structure, the forms it may take, and methods that predict changes in organization due to changes made to the underlying components.


Vorläufiges Programm: (The course will be given in English)

  • Principles: competing forces, symmetry breaking, dissipative structures, instabilities, non-equilibrium, pattern selection, …
  • Molecular self-assembly in solutions and at interfaces
  • Lessons from the natural world: Patterns, bubbles, waves, bodies, branches, …
  • Swarming and adaptation



Experimentalphysik IV (Kondensierte Materie)

Einführende Literatur:

  • Yoon S. Lee: Self-Assembly and Nanotechnology: A Force Balance Approach, Wiley 2008
  • Richard A.L. Jones, Soft Machines: Nanotechnology and Life, Oxford University Press, USA 2008
  • Philip Ball: The Self-Made Tapestry: Pattern Formation in Nature, Oxford University Press 2004
  • Philip Ball, Shapes, Flow, Branches - Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts,  Oxford University Press, USA 2009
  • Scott Camazine, Jean-Louis Deneubourg,  Nigel R. Franks, and James Sneyd, Self-Organization in Biological Systems  (Princeton Studies in Complexity);  Princeton University Press 2003
  • James Kennedy, Russell C. Eberhart: Swarm Intelligence, Academic Press 2001



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