Information, dissipation, and paths to self-assembling active materials
Fueled by chemistry, dissipative self-assembly can create, sustain, regulate, and destroy the structure of supramolecular materials. For example, the chemically-fueled assembly of hydrogels endows these materials with tunable properties that make them promising drug delivery systems. But, these fibrous gels only exist while they consume fuel and dissipate energy, which raises fundamental questions about which structure-forming pathways are significant among the myriad possibilities. This talk will describe our theoretical studies directed at understanding the paths that these active materials travel, how nonequilibrium forces collectively drive structure formation, and how these paths yield clues about the design of dissipative self-assembling systems.