NEWS: molecular self-organization

Robert J. Bradbury (
Wed, 18 Aug 1999 10:16 PDT

I have to get out of bed really early in the morning to scoop something before Nanogirl gets to it... So I thought I'd offer up a tidbit or two from this week's Science:

"Controlling Molecular Self-Organization: Formation of Nanometer-Scale Spheres and Tubules"
G. William Orr, Leonard J. Barbour, Jerry L. Atwood

If you have a Science OnLine subscription the abstract is:

The key points are:

  1. They can construct both spheres & tubes
  2. The construction is done by self-organization
  3. The construction of the spheres/tubes is controlled by varying the reactant concentrations.
  4. The work is done by 3 people in a chemistry lab.

The materials aren't going to be as strong as buckyballs/tubes because the bonds between the subunits aren't covalent but it points out how clever the chemists are getting. Looking at the pictures, what keeps going through my mind is that we are on the path towards NanoLegos.

Also in the issue are a good discussion of the super-iron batteries, pointing out that we may be able to improve battery density quite a bit, Josephson Persistent-Current Qubits (for you QC folks), and a discussion about how Human Genome Sciences is moving from a genome company into a drug company.