The controlled fabrication of nano/micro metre-scale objects is without doubt one of today’s central goals in science and technology - one essential for the development of nanotechnology and the expansion of microtechnology. Because said objects fall awkwardly between the sizes that can be manipulated by chemistry and those that can be manipulated by conventional manufacturing, the most promising strategy for their fabrication is self-assembly, that is, the autonomous organization of components into structures without human intervention. Indeed, self-assembly promises to revolutionise the way we fabricate industrial and consumer goods, building technologies and optical devices. However, it has limitations: generating complex responsive devices via this method is difficult and hence it is not well suited for producing structures for high-end applications (switchable metamaterials, nano/micro robotics...). Furthermore, the process is inherently inflexible; whilst its components spontaneously assemble, they do so to form only a single set of structures and they must be arduously taylored and selected ad hoc to achieve even this. Recently, I have proved the concept of a new self-assembly method that is not subject to these limitations and therefore has the potential to expand the application base of self assembly into previously untapped areas - such as microrobotics. I have christened this process APPS (assembly guided by particle position and shape). APPS is still in its infancy and this proposal will establish its design rules for the first time and then apply them to make jointed actuators, connected with custom DNA structures, that will have unprecedented and programmable performance on the micron scale.
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