Themed Issue on Directed self-assembly

Soft Matter is planning to produce a themed issue on Directed self-assembly in 2013. Please e-mail the editorial office at, if you are interested in contributing an article.

The Guest Editor of the issue is Professor Eric M. Furst (University of Delaware).

The presence of random thermal processes is an important characteristic of soft materials. This intrinsic motion often drives soft matter to a thermodynamic equilibrium, and consequently, spontaneous self-assembly into a specific microstructure. Surfactant micelles, ordered block co-polymers, and colloidal crystals are just a few examples of the rich array of assemblies. In nanotechnology, self-assembly promises to enable new forms of scalable manufacture, reducing the cost of sophisticated functional nanomaterials and devices. However, to achieve this will require direction and control. The fundamental programming rules for self-assembly remain elusive—what structures with molecular or particle building blocks with different shapes and interactions form? How do we work backwards from a desired structure to direct the properties of the constituent building blocks that encode assembly? Moreover, there is no guarantee that the equilibrium state can be reached on a desired timescale, and non-equilibrium barriers to self-assembly, such as glassy arrest or gelation, may hamper the way. Moderate external directing fields have proven useful for circumventing non-equilibrium states.

The deadline for the receipt of manuscripts for this themed issue is April 2013.

Manuscripts can be submitted using the RSC’s online submissions service. Please clearly mark that the manuscript is submitted for the themed issue on ‘Directed self-assembly’.

Please would you inform the editorial office by e-mail at as soon as possible if you plan to submit to the issue and whether your contribution will be original research or a review-type article. We would like to have a list of authors who intend to contribute as soon as possible.

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