Biological self-organization is neither static nor driven by energy minimization, but fueled by energy and regulated by feedback mechanisms. This allows for truly active and adaptive properties, ultimately leading to self-replication, learning and evolution.
To approach the global challenge towards non-equilibrium systems, we invest significant efforts into creating fundamentally new self-assembly concepts.
Those target an orchestration of the time domain of self-assemblies via kinetic control, energy dissipation and feedback mechanisms, so as to create materials that feature self-regulation, autonomous dynamics and programmable lifetimes as first macroscale properties (Soft Matter, invited Emerging Area article, 2015).
We are both interested in the fundamental kinetics of the underlying chemical reaction networks and in an exploitation of self-assemblies with lifetimes for materials, such as in hydrogels, photonics, and time-programmed burst release applications.