>From the April 6 Business Week, pp 128:
These Molecules Are Real Self-Starters
For engineers, it's close to playing god. They are devising so-called self-assembly
techniques aimed at getting molecules to arrange themselves into larger functioning
systems, much as eggs and sperm self-assemble into human beings. Until now, only
nature has been able to get more that a few molecules to join together, into very small
nanostructures. But on March 20, two University of Rochester researchers said they
had developed the largest synthetic structures ever made by self-assembly.
Though each structure contains millions of molecules, the largest is only 50 microns
long, less than the width of a human hair. Still, that's 1,000 times larger that the
previous record for synthetic self-assembled structures, the researchers report in
the journal Science. "In the world of self-assembly, these structures are giant," says
X. linda Chen, one of the researchers and a graduate engineering student at
Rochester. Chen and engineering professor Samson A. Jenekhe started with a
large polymer macromolecule long thought too unstable for self-assembly. They
tamed the polymer by inserting hydrogen bonds into the structures, the same
stabilizers found in DNA and other natural self-assebled proteins.
The molecules form a variety of shapes, including spheres, cylinders, rings, and disks-
all of which have a fluorescent glow. The researchers say the structures could be
utilized as drug-delivery vehicles, adhesives, lasers, sensors, and for other industrial
Has anyone read the actual Article in Science?
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