, Volume 76, Issue 1, pp 195–224 | Cite as

Strict Self-Assembly of Fractals Using Multiple Hands

  • Cameron T. Chalk
  • Dominic A. Fernandez
  • Alejandro Huerta
  • Mario A. Maldonado
  • Robert T. Schweller
  • Leslie Sweet


In this paper we consider the problem of the strict self-assembly of infinite fractals within tile self-assembly. In particular, we provide tile assembly algorithms for the assembly of a Sierpinski triangle and the discrete Sierpinski carpet within a class of models we term the h-handed assembly model (h-HAM), which generalizes the 2-HAM to allow up to h assemblies to combine in a single assembly step. Despite substantial consideration, no purely growth self-assembly model has yet been shown to strictly assemble an infinite fractal without significant modification to the fractal shape. In this paper we not only achieve this, but in the case of the Sierpinski carpet are able to achieve it within the 2-HAM, one of the most well studied tile assembly models in the literature. Our specific results are as follows: We provide a 6-HAM construction for a Sierpinski triangle that works at scale factor 1, 30 tile types, and assembles the fractal in a near perfect way in which all intermediate assemblies are finite-sized iterations of the recursive fractal. We further assemble a Sierpinski triangle within the 3-HAM at scale factor 3 and 990 tile types. For the Sierpinski carpet, we present a 2-HAM result that works at scale factor 3 and uses 1216 tile types. We further include analysis showing that the aTAM is incapable of strictly assembling the Sierpinski triangle considered in this paper, and that multiple hands are needed for the near-perfect assembly of a Sierpinski triangle and the Sierpinski carpet.


Self-assembly Fractals DNA tiles 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cameron T. Chalk
    • 1
  • Dominic A. Fernandez
    • 1
  • Alejandro Huerta
    • 1
  • Mario A. Maldonado
    • 1
  • Robert T. Schweller
    • 1
  • Leslie Sweet
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceThe University of Texas - Pan AmericanEdinburgUSA

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