Mechanisms of kinetic trapping in self-assembly and phase transformation

Michael F Hagan, Oren M Elrad, Robert L Jack

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In self-assembly processes, kinetic trapping effects often hinder the formation of thermodynamically stable ordered states. In a model of viral capsid assembly and in the phase transformation of a lattice gas, we show how simulations in a self-assembling steady state can be used to identify two distinct mechanisms of kinetic trapping. We argue that one of these mechanisms can be adequately captured by kinetic rate equations, while the other involves a breakdown of theories that rely on cluster size as a reaction coordinate. We discuss how these observations might be useful in designing and optimising self-assembly reactions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104115
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2011


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