19 Thermodynamic Principles of Self-Assembly

19.1 Introduction: Soft Structures

In Part III we shall be looking at the interactions of molecular aggregates, such as micelles, microemulsions, bilayers, vesicles, biological membranes, and macromolecules such as proteins. Most of these structures form readily in aqueous solution by the spontaneous self-association or self-assembly of amphiphilic molecules (see Figures 19.1 and 19.2 and Table 19.1). These structures and the systems they form—sometimes collectively referred to as associated or association colloids, complex fluids, and soft (structured) materials—stand apart from the conventional colloidal particles discussed in Part II in one important respect: unlike solid particles or rigid macromolecules ...

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