Algorithms for Self-Assembly

An interesting article on finding algorithms for self-assembling, nano-scale polyhedra.  Related to some things I’m thinking about in the studio at the moment, the process seems quite interesting/complicated.  Researchers “determined the best 2-D arrangements, called planar nets, to create self-folding polyhedra with dimensions of a few hundred microns, the size of a small dust particle. The strength of the analysis lies in the combination of theory and experiment… There have been some successes with simple 3-D shapes such as cubes, but the list of possible starting points that could yield the ideal self-assembly for more complex geometric configurations gets long fast. For example, while there are 11 2-D arrangements for a cube, there are 43,380 for a dodecahedron (12 equal pentagonal faces). Creating a truncated octahedron (14 total faces — six squares and eight hexagons) has 2.3 million possibilities.”

Also of interest is the ideation process for this work, where “…the students got acquainted with their assignment by playing with a set of children’s toys in various geometric shapes. They progressed quickly into more serious analysis”.

Via: Science Daily (via: Philip Torrone on Make Blog)