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Self-organization

Self-organization in micron-sized Nb3O7(OH) cubes during a hydrothermal treatment at 200 °C. Initially amorphous cubes gradually transform into ordered 3D meshes of crystalline nanowires as summarized in the model below. Self-organization is a process where some form of overall order or coordination arises out of the local interactions between smaller component parts of an initially disordered system. The process of self-organization can be spontaneous, and it is not necessarily controlled by any auxiliary agent outside of the system. It is often triggered by random fluctuations that are amplified by positive feedback. The resulting organization is wholly decentralized or distributed over all the components of the system. As such, the organization is typically robust and able to survive and, even, self-repair substantial damage or perturbations. Chaos theory discusses self-organization in terms of islands of predictability in a sea of chaotic unpredictability. Self-organization occurs in a variety of physical, chemical, biological, robotic, social, and cognitive systems. Examples of its realization can be found in crystallization, thermal convection of fluids, chemical oscillation, animal swarming, and neural networks. ^ Betzler, S. B.; Wisnet, A.; Breitbach, B.; Mitterbauer, C.; Weickert, J.; Schmidt-Mende, L.; Scheu, C. (2014). "Template-free synthesis of novel, highly-ordered 3D hierarchical Nb3O7(OH) superstructures with semiconductive and photoactive properties". Journal of Materials Chemistry A 2 (30): 12005. doi:10.1039/C4TA02202E.
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