Steering self-organisation through confinement

Araújo NA, Janssen LM, Barois T, Boffetta G, Cohen I, Corbetta A, Dauchot O, Dijkstra M, Durham WM, Dussutour A, Garnier S, Gelderblom H, Golestanian R, Isa L, Koenderink GH, Löwen H, Metzler R, Polin M, Royall CP, Šarić A, Sengupta A, Sykes C, Trianni V, Tuval I, Vogel N, Yeomans JM, Zuriguel I, Marin A, Volpe G (2023)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2023


Book Volume: 19

Pages Range: 1695-1704

Journal Issue: 9

DOI: 10.1039/d2sm01562e


Self-organisation is the spontaneous emergence of spatio-temporal structures and patterns from the interaction of smaller individual units. Examples are found across many scales in very different systems and scientific disciplines, from physics, materials science and robotics to biology, geophysics and astronomy. Recent research has highlighted how self-organisation can be both mediated and controlled by confinement. Confinement is an action over a system that limits its units’ translational and rotational degrees of freedom, thus also influencing the system's phase space probability density; it can function as either a catalyst or inhibitor of self-organisation. Confinement can then become a means to actively steer the emergence or suppression of collective phenomena in space and time. Here, to provide a common framework and perspective for future research, we examine the role of confinement in the self-organisation of soft-matter systems and identify overarching scientific challenges that need to be addressed to harness its full scientific and technological potential in soft matter and related fields. By drawing analogies with other disciplines, this framework will accelerate a common deeper understanding of self-organisation and trigger the development of innovative strategies to steer it using confinement, with impact on, e.g., the design of smarter materials, tissue engineering for biomedicine and in guiding active matter.

Authors with CRIS profile

Involved external institutions

University of Luxembourg LU Luxembourg (LU) University of Sheffield GB United Kingdom (GB) Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier FR France (FR) Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) NL Netherlands (NL) Universität Potsdam DE Germany (DE) Eindhoven University of Technology / Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e) NL Netherlands (NL) École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la ville de Paris (ESPCI Paris) FR France (FR) University of Twente NL Netherlands (NL) University College London (UCL) GB United Kingdom (GB) University of Oxford GB United Kingdom (GB) Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ) / Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich CH Switzerland (CH) Universidad de Navarra ES Spain (ES) Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies / Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione (CNR) IT Italy (IT) École Normale Supérieure - PSL (ENS) FR France (FR) Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation / Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization DE Germany (DE) New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) US United States (USA) (US) Laboratoire Ondes et Matière d'Aquitaine (LOMA) FR France (FR) Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science NL Netherlands (NL) Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf DE Germany (DE) Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) AT Austria (AT) Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies / Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados (IMEDEA) ES Spain (ES) Cornell University US United States (USA) (US) University of Turin / Università degli Studi di Torino (UNITO) IT Italy (IT) University of Lisbon / Universidade de Lisboa (ULisboa) PT Portugal (PT)

How to cite


Araújo, N.A., Janssen, L.M., Barois, T., Boffetta, G., Cohen, I., Corbetta, A.,... Volpe, G. (2023). Steering self-organisation through confinement. Soft Matter, 19(9), 1695-1704.


Araújo, Nuno A.M., et al. "Steering self-organisation through confinement." Soft Matter 19.9 (2023): 1695-1704.

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