2Models and Methods in Multivalent Systems

Jurriaan Huskens

Molecular NanoFabrication Group, MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Twente, 7500 AE, Enschede, the Netherlands

2.1 Introduction

2.1.1 General Introduction

Self‐assembly describes the non‐covalent interaction between molecules, biomolecules, nanoparticles, and so on, that leads to larger structures with designed properties and functionalities [1,2,3,4,5]. The development of organic synthesis, which is the methodology development for the creation of new molecules based on covalent bonds, has led to a true revolution in chemistry that started more than a century ago. Literally millions of compounds have been made or can potentially be made based on the methods developed so far, and the field is still developing. One can hardly grasp the idea of taking all of these molecules and to assemble them into larger structures, particles, entities, based on non‐covalent interactions: the possible combinations are unimaginable and are orders of magnitude larger in potential. Moreover, the products of self‐assembly can in turn be organized in assemblies of a higher order, in a process called hierarchical self‐assembly [6].

In chemistry, the notion of the infinite possibilities of self‐assembly has grown in particular from the dawn of supramolecular chemistry in the 1960s and 1970s [2,7]. Nowadays, the concepts that have been and still are being developed in this area have pervaded ...

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