Design strategies for the self-assembly of polyhedral shells

Diogo E.P. Pinto, Petr Šulc, Francesco Sciortino, John Russo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The control over the self-assembly of complex structures is a long-standing challenge of material science, especially at the colloidal scale, as the desired assembly pathway is often kinetically derailed by the formation of amorphous aggregates. Here, we investigate in detail the problem of the self-assembly of the three Archimedean shells with five contact points per vertex, i.e., the icosahedron, the snub cube, and the snub dodecahedron. We use patchy particles with five interaction sites (or patches) as model for the building blocks and recast the assembly problem as a Boolean satisfiability problem (SAT) for the patch-patch interactions. This allows us to find effective designs for all targets and to selectively suppress unwanted structures. By tuning the geometrical arrangement and the specific interactions of the patches, we demonstrate that lowering the symmetry of the building blocks reduces the number of competing structures, which in turn can considerably increase the yield of the target structure. These results cement SAT-assembly as an invaluable tool to solve inverse design problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2219458120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 18 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • SAT
  • capsids
  • nanotechnology
  • self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Design strategies for the self-assembly of polyhedral shells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this