Dendrites are structures that develop with a continuously branching tree-like form. Such patterns are found in many aspects of the natural world, which indicates the universality of their topology. This review presents an examination of dendritic structures, addressing their stochasticity and fractal character, and exploring their information content or more specifically their ability to provide a very large number of unique patterns that may be used as a novel form of item identification. A brief summary of fractals and their dimensionality is presented and applied to the well-known diffusion limited aggregate (DLA) dendritic construct. Dendrites formed by electrochemical ‘self-assembly’ are explored and examples given of their formation under different conditions. Stochastic variations in the self-similar Y-shaped symbol that underlies these fractals can carry information, leading to significant entropy, even though the structural entropy of the overall pattern is relatively small.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1920846
JournalAdvances in Physics: X
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • Dendrites
  • entropy
  • fractal dimension
  • fractals
  • information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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