A new self-assembly process uses chemical processes to create small “conjugated block copolymers,” or molecular chains, along with a thermodynamic phase diagram. Imagine unrolling an electronic newspaper that’s automatically updated via the Internet. Or cheap roof shingles that double as solar panels. These are just two technologies that could become possible with the advent of plastic electronics made from tiny components that assemble themselves. UC Berkeley chemical engineer Rachel Segalman is conducting the fundamental research that could help make this nanoscale dream a reality. In December, Segalman’s efforts earned her a National Science Foundation CAREER Award.
Nanodevices That Assemble Themselves