About this Research Topic
Nature uses a hierarchy of self-assembly steps to construct functional hybrid structures from inorganic and organic building blocks. Many examples from nature have demonstrated the power of hierarchical self-assembly in designing structurally complex and functional architectures for various applications, in which multiple components are brought together through a stepwise process driven by multiple coordination interactions. Aiming to obtain a better understanding of such biological processes in nature, a great deal of effort has been devoted toward investigating artificial functional systems. The process is mainly governed by the molecular interactions (van der Waals, hydrophobic, electrostatic, etc.), functional groups and/or external stimuli, which could be used to control morphology and dimensions of thus-obtained materials with one-dimensional, two-dimensional, and three-dimensional nanoscale, as well as make those materials programmable and reversible based on internal/external stimuli. Moreover, advanced self-assembled materials with programmable functions could balance morphologies and physiochemical properties, and have wide prospective applications of biomaterials, biocompatible hydrogels, self-healing materials, and medical materials.
The process of self-assembly―where building units of a system organizes into an ordered and/or functional structure via internal arrangement of molecules―has attracted researchers from a broad range of disciplines that varies from chemistry and material science to engineering and technology. Advances in controlled self-assembly depend upon expanding the ability to create biologically inspired complex materials with well-defined multidimensional structures. A constantly expanding library of available molecules is being produced, rendering them attractive precursors for complex self-assembled structures. Particularly, this novel strategy provides more opportunities in optimizing morphological and physicochemical properties through design and synthesis of molecular building blocks. Significant progress has been achieved in non-trivial synthetic routes to obtain these building blocks and in the understanding of novel hierarchical self-assembly phenomena, pushing forward the frontiers of the field. Thus, amalgamating the chemistry of controlled self-assembly along with biomaterials science will efficiently produce innovative functional biomaterials with programmable functions via self-assembly.
Advances in the areas of nano- and bio-technology demand for the development of complex structures and biomaterials that would resemble living systems. Herein we will focus on the design, synthesis, characterization, and manufacturing of controlled self-assembly behavior of organic and polymeric biomaterials, which present unique characteristics enabling the access to a wealth of superstructures and advanced materials with tuneable properties (shape, size, surface characteristics, etc.). We will embrace related but diverse research disciplines and areas such as organic chemistry, supramolecular chemistry and self-assembly, polymer chemistry, coordination chemistry, colloid and surface chemistry, biomaterials, environmental science, nanotechnology, nanoscience, as well as functional biomaterials science. This Research Topic aims to highlight the recent advances in the development of novel building blocks, the hierarchical and reversible assembly and disassembly properties of the generated systems, together with advanced characterization methods to investigate the structure and dynamics of the assemblies for giving a current overview of their practical bio-applications in nanomedicine and regenerative medicine, high-throughput screening, drug delivery, and organ-on-chip development.
Keywords: molecular self-assembly, controllable materials with programmable functions, functional biomaterials, environmental (pH, enzyme, light, ultrasound, etc.) responsive nanostructures, supramolecular/noncovalent interactions, self-assembly hydrogels, drug delivery, biofunctionalization, regenerative medicine
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