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  1. Zhang, Xi (Ed.)
    While self-assembly is relatively well-known and widely used to form hierarchical structures and thin film coatings, controlled assembly is less known and utilized. Our prior work has demonstrated the concept of controlled assembly of macromolecules such as star polymers (MW ~383 kDa, hydrodynamic radius R ~ 13.8 nm) in droplets. The present work extends this concept to smaller molecules, in this case, poly(ethylene glycol) bis-tetrazine (PEG-bisTz, Mn 8.1 kDa, R ~1.5 nm). The key to control molecular assembly is to first deliver ultrasmall volumes (sub-fL) of solution containing PEG-bisTz to a substrate. The solvent evaporates rapidly due to the minute volume, thus forcing the assembly of solute, whose overall size and dimension are dictated by the initial liquid geometry and size. Using pre-patterned surfaces, this work revealed that the initial liquid shape can be further tuned, and as such we could control the final assembly of solute such as PEG-bisTz molecules. The degree of control is demonstrated by varying the micropatterns and delivery conditions. This work demonstrates the validity of controlled assembly for PEG-bisTz, and as such enables 3D nanoprinting of functional materials. The technology has promising applications in nanophotonics, nanoelectronics, nanocomposite materials, and tissue engineering. 
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  2. Zhang, Xi‐Guang (Ed.)