self-organisation (rus. самоорганизация otherwise самосборка) — spontaneous formation of ordered spatial or temporal structures under conditions of uninterrupted flow of energy and matter in highly disordered open systems.


In a number of cases, self-organisation is understood as any process that leads to the formation of any ordered structure within a system. In the case of intense inflow of energy from outside, spontaneous formation of organised dissipative structures arising from the system's evolution under highly non-equilibrium conditions (dissipative self-organisation) is possible. The family of self-organised dissipative structures includes spatially periodic convective systems, chaotic behaviour systems, certain types of dynamic fractal structures and periodic spatial-temporal structures (self-oscillations and sustained waves). An essential condition for the initiation of the self-organisation process is the presence of several (at least two) opposing gradient fields of the same dimensionality forming an energy minimum as a function of distance or time. There is a wide variety of self-organisation processes, with the most widely known of them being the Liesegang rings, the Marangoni effect, the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, and the Benard cells (see the Figure). Control of self-organisation processes is a fundamental problem, whose solution will enable the development of functional nanomaterials with predetermined physicochemical properties and the production of nanodevices based on such materials (see also "self-assembly").


а — Cellular ordered structure developing due to application of Marangoni force (liquid tension
а — Cellular ordered structure developing due to application of Marangoni force (liquid tension force depending on the concentration of a dissolved matter); b — autofluctuations and waves in the Belousov-Abotinski reaction in a thin layer of gel (gelatin); c — Benard cells — development of liquid droplets in a layer heated from below and cooled from above (or vice-versa).


  • Goodilin Evgeny A.


  1. Self-organization // Chemical encyclopedia. V. 4 (in Russian). — Мoscow: Sovetskaja ehnciklopedija, 1995. 291 pp.
  2. Prigogine I., Stengers I. Order Out of Chaos: Man's New Dialogue with Nature. — Flamingo, 1993. — 384 pp.
  3. An Album of Fluid Motion/ Department of Mechanical Engineering. - The Parabolic Press, Stanford, California — (reference date: 12.12.2011).

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