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Keynote Lecture

WEB Approaching Biological Complexity: Beyond Self-Assembly

Wednesday (23.09.2020)
09:00 - 09:30 P: Processing and Synthesis 1
Part of:

* Jan van Esch*, Rienk Eelkema, Qian Liu, Eduardo Mendes


Department of Chemical Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands


Keywords: self-assembly, supramolecular chemistry, active materials


It remains a huge scientific challenge to understand and mimic the utilisation of chemical energy in biological systems to achieve the highly adaptable organisation and sophisticated functions like active transport, motility, self-repair, replication, and adaptability. The development of biomimetic systems with similar energy consuming organisation and functions requires a radical departure from equilibrium self-assembly approaches, towards out-of-equilibrium systems driven by the continuous input of energy.


In our research we focus on the development of active materials driven by chemicals fuels. First, I will discuss how active materials can result from the transient self-assembly of synthetic molecules, driven by the consumption of a chemical fuel. In these materials, reaction rates and fuel levels, instead of equilibrium composition, determine properties such as lifetime, stiffness, and self- regeneration capability.1-3 Then, I will discuss our recent steps to achieve temporal and spatial over fuel-driven self-assembly by the development of a chemical reaction network that allow for feedback control. Such systems will form the basis for self-organising systems and for design and construction of energy-consuming dynamic devices and materials.



1) J. Boekhoven, A.M. Brizard, K.N. Kowlgi, G.J. Koper, R. Eelkema, J.H. van Esch, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 49 DOI: 10.1002/anie.201001511 (2010)

2) J. Boekhoven, W. Hendriksen, G. Koper, R. Eelkema, J.H. van Esch, Science 349, 1075 (2015)

3) B. G. P. van Ravensteijn, W. E. Hendriksen, R. Eelkema, J. H. van Esch, W. K. Kegel, J Am Chem Soc 2017, 139, 9763-9766.

4) Y. Wang, R. M. de Kruijff, M. Lovrak, X. Guo, R. Eelkema, J. H. van Esch, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 3800.

Prof. Dr. Jan van Esch
Delft University of Technology


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