Dynamic Landau theory for supramolecular self-assembly

  • Nitin S. Tiwari
  • Koen Merkus
  • Paul van der Schoot
Open Access
Regular Article


Although pathway-specific kinetic theories are fundamentally important to describe and understand reversible polymerisation kinetics, they come in principle at a cost of having a large number of system-specific parameters. Here, we construct a dynamical Landau theory to describe the kinetics of activated linear supramolecular self-assembly, which drastically reduces the number of parameters and still describes most of the interesting and generic behavior of the system in hand. This phenomenological approach hinges on the fact that if nucleated, the polymerisation transition resembles a phase transition. We are able to describe hysteresis, overshooting, undershooting and the existence of a lag time before polymerisation takes off, and pinpoint the conditions required for observing these types of phenomenon in the assembly and disassembly kinetics. We argue that the phenomenological kinetic parameter in our theory is a pathway controller, i.e., it controls the relative weights of the molecular pathways through which self-assembly takes place.

Graphical abstract


Soft Matter: Self-organisation and Supramolecular Assemblies 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nitin S. Tiwari
    • 1
  • Koen Merkus
    • 1
  • Paul van der Schoot
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied PhysicsEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Institute for Theoretical PhysicsUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

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