Consistent concepts of self-organization and self-assembly

Julianne D. Halley, David A. Winkler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOther

82 Citations (Scopus)


We critically review concepts of self-organization and self-assembly, and extract from this analysis consistent and workable definitions of both concepts that are applicable across many scientific disciplines. In essence, we distinguish self-organization from self-assembly on a thermodynamic basis, where self-organization implies a nonequilibrium process and self-assembly is reserved for spontaneous processes tending toward equilibrium. This discrimination is consistent with early uses of both terms. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

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