Arnab Dutta


Abstract models of self-assembly are mathematical models that capture the behavior of natural or artificial self-assembling systems. In 1995, conformational switching in self-assembling mechanical systems was introduced and an abstract model of self-assembling systems, conformational switching model, was later developed where assembly instructions are written as rules representing the conformational changes of self-assembling components. In 2004, another abstract model named graph grammar was developed to self-assemble a prespecified graph structure by generating a grammar or a set of rules. We first provide the concepts related to the abstract models of self-assembly, followed by a brief history of the development of conformational switching and graph grammar approaches. An overview of the conformational switching model is provided, including descriptions of two types of conformational switches and the theory of one-dimensional self-assembling automata. A description of the graph grammar model is also provided, including its topological properties and an algorithm for generating graph grammar.

Date of publication

Spring 5-7-2012

Document Type




Persistent identifier

Included in

Mathematics Commons