Inorganic nanoparticles (NPs) have the ability to self-organize into variety of structures. Analysis of experimental data for different types of NPs indicates a general trend of self-assembly under a wider range of conditions and having broader structural variability than self-assembling units from organic and biological matter. Remarkably, the internal organization of self-assembled NP systems rival in complexity to those found in some cellular organelles (Figure 1) which reflects the biomimetic behavior of inorganic NPs. The following questions will be addressed:
What are the differences and similarities of NP self-organization compared with similar phenomena involving organic and biological building blocks?
What are the forces and related theoretical assumptions essential for NP interactions?
What is the significance of NP self-assembly for understanding emergence of life?
What are the technological opportunities of NP self-organization?
Self-organization of chiral nanostructures will illustrate the importance of subtle anisotropies and their cumulative effects on from collective behavior of NPs and non-additivity of their interactions. The fundamental significance of studies in this area from this and other groups will be discussed in relation to the origin of homochirality on Earth and spontaneous compartmentalization (protocells). The practical significance of NP self-organization will be demonstrated in relation to charge storage technologies, DNA/protein biosensing, chiral catalysis, and polarization-based optical devices using, for instance chiromagnetic optical modulation.
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