Geometrically Frustrated Self-Assembly

Princeton Center for Theoretical Science, Nov 27-29, 2017.

Micrometer-sized colloidal particles self-assemble into ribbon-like domains on spherical droplets. Credit: Guangnan Meng.

Left to right: Micrometer-sized colloidal particles self-assemble into ribbon-like domains on spherical droplets (credit: Guangnan Meng); Low-symmetry sticky particles assemble into fibrous aggregates in a 3D lattice model (credit: Pierre Ronceray); The interplay of frustration and particle deformation controls the morphology of self-assembled aggregates (credit: Gregory Grason).

The workshop is now over. Thanks to all the participants!

Workshop Goals

Geometrically frustrated assembly is an emerging paradigm for self-organized soft materials, where interactions between self-assembling elements (e.g., particles, macromolecules, proteins) favor local packing motifs that are incompatible with uniform global order in the assembly, either because of shape mismatch between the particles or because of the specificity of the interactions.

This meeting aims at bringing together, for the first time, a panel of theorists and a few experimentalists whose current research covers an aspect of this problem, and thinking together about the key questions regarding the concept and physical models of frustrated self-assembly.

This 3-days workshop is hosted and funded by the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science.


The final version of the program can be found here.

List of Invited Speakers

  • Patrick Charbonneau, "Packing and Assembling Spheres in Cylindrical Confinement".
  • Haim Diamant, "Self-organization of forced colloids into hyperuniform dynamic structures".
  • Zvonimir Dogic, "Conformational switching in chiral self assembly".
  • Efi Efrati, "Cumulative and non-cumulative frustration in liquid and solid assemblies".
  • Gregory Grason, "Anomalous assembly of ill-fitting elements: competing morphologies of geometrically frustrated assemblies".
  • Ryan Hayward, "Fabrication and (frustrated) assembly of shape-programmed polymer particles".
  • Miranda Holmes-Cerfon, "Are sticky spheres frustrated?".
  • Randall Kamien, "Focal Conic Domains how they pack on finite surfaces".
  • Vinothan Manoharan, "Colloidal self-assembly on curved surfaces – and the connection to icosahedral viruses".
  • Elisabetta Matsumoto, "Why be straight? or the undeniable pervasiveness of twisting".
  • Arvind Murugan, "Associative retrieval of memories in frustrated disordered self-assembly".
  • Pierre Ronceray, "What determines the dimensionality of self-assembled aggregates?".
  • Gilles Tarjus, "Geometrical Frustration in the Bulk".
  • Ned Wingreen, "Magic numbers in protein phase separation".
  • Tom Witten, "Funneling into a frustrated fiber: towards a continuum understanding of kinetically selected one-dimensional self assembly"


Gregory Grason (UMass Amherst), Pierre Ronceray (Princeton University).

Geometrically distinct packings of identical spheres with the same adjacency matrices (credit: Miranda Holmes-Cerfon).