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"And the stars are projectors, yeah, projecting our lives down to this planet Earth." - Modest Mouse


5.28.2004

Nano Borromean Rings Self Assemble 



New Scientist reports that a team at the California NanoSystems Institute in Los Angeles has succesfully created a self-assembling Borromean ring.
Borromean rings have symbolised the holy trinity in Christian iconography, the heart of a giant in Nordic mythology, and the crest of the Borromeo family in 15th-century Tuscany.

"Our inspiration was partly the sheer beauty of the molecules and partly their potential to be turned into some of the smallest possible machines and switches you can design at the molecular level," Stoddart told New Scientist.

Rather than building the rings one at a time, Stoddart's team used zinc ions to nudge three component parts to come together spontaneously. The result was a Borromean ring with a diameter of 2.5 nanometres and an inner chamber lined with 12 oxygen atoms. "The compound makes itself because it is very much more stable than any of its competitors," he says.

Comments:
It will be interesting to see if this structure has any practical uses, though.
 
I think the important part is that they've demonstrated a form of self-assembly for the first time.
 
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