SAT-assembly: a new approach for designing self-assembling systems

John Russo, Flavio Romano, Lukas Kroc, Francesco Sciortino, Lorenzo Rovigatti, Petr Sulc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We propose a general framework for solving inverse self-assembly problems, i.e. designing interactions between elementary units such that they assemble spontaneously into a predetermined structure. Our approach uses patchy particles as building blocks, where the different units bind at specific interaction sites (the patches), and we exploit the possibility of having mixtures with several components. The interaction rules between the patches is determined by transforming the combinatorial problem into a Boolean satisfiability problem (SAT) which searches for solutions where all bonds are formed in the target structure. Additional conditions, such as the non-satisfiability of competing structures (e.g. metastable states) can be imposed, allowing to effectively design the assembly path in order to avoid kinetic traps. We demonstrate this approach by designing and numerically simulating a cubic diamond structure from four particle species that assembles without competition from other polymorphs, including the hexagonal structure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number354002
JournalJournal of Physics Condensed Matter
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 31 2022


  • DNA-nanotechnology
  • SAT
  • colloidal diamond
  • patchy colloids
  • self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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