Navigation Links
Tying atomic threads in knots may produce material benefits
Date:11/8/2011

A new generation of lighter, stronger plastics could be produced using an intricate chemical process devised by scientists.

Chemists working on the nanoscale 80,000 times smaller than a hair's breadth have managed to tie molecules into complex knots that could give materials exceptional versatility.

By weaving threads of atoms into the shape of five-point stars, researchers at the University of Edinburgh have created the building blocks of materials that could be supremely flexible and shock absorbent.

They hope that the new molecules known as pentafoil knots will mimic the characteristics of complex knots found in proteins and DNA, which help to make some substances elastic.

In natural rubber, for example, 85 per cent of its elasticity is caused by knot-like entanglements in its molecule chain.

Creating knotted structures in the laboratory should make it easier for scientists to observe and understand exactly how entanglements influence a material's properties.

And being able to produce materials with a specific number of well-defined knots, rather than the random mixture that occurs in today's plastics and polymers, scientists could exercise greater control when designing materials.

The research, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, is reported in Nature Chemistry journal.

The Edinburgh team, working with researchers from the University of Jyvskyl in Finland, is the first to create a knot with five crossing points.

The pentafoil, also known as a Solomon's seal knot, has symbolic significance in many cultures and is the central emblem on the flags of Morocco and Ethiopia.

Deliberately tying molecules into knots so that its properties can be studied is extremely difficult. Until now, only the simplest type of knot the trefoil, with three crossing points has been created by scientists.

Remarkably, the thread of atoms that the Edinburgh team has tied into a five-star knot is just 160 atoms in length and measures a 16-millionth of a millimetre.

Using a technique known as self-assembly, the researchers produced a chemical reaction in which atoms were chemically programmed to spontaneously wrap themselves up into the desired knot.

Principal researcher David Leigh, Forbes Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, said: "It's very early to say for sure, but the type of mechanical cross-linking we have just carried out could lead to very light but strong materials - something akin to a molecular chain mail.

"It could also produce materials with exceptional elastic or shock-absorbing properties because molecular knots and entanglements are intimately associated with those characteristics. By understanding better how those structures work - and being able to create them to order - we should be able to design materials that exploit those architectures with greater effect."


'/>"/>
Contact: Catriona Kelly
Catriona.Kelly@ed.ac.uk
44-131-651-4401
University of Edinburgh
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Linden Enters Anatomic Pathology Sector Through Investment in Strata Pathology Services, Inc.
2. Lehigh University leads Department of Defense MURI grant for atomic-scale interphase research
3. Seeing an atomic thickness
4. Getting the point: Real-time monitoring of atomic-microscope probes adjusts for wear
5. Probing atomic chicken wire
6. 3-D nanoparticle in atomic resolution
7. Manufacturing made to measure atomic-scale electrodes
8. Unprecedented look at oxide interfaces reveals unexpected structures on atomic scale
9. Depth charge: Using atomic force microscopy to study subsurface structures
10. Physicists capture first images of atomic spin
11. A little less force: Making atomic force microscopy work for cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2016)... Wausau, WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... probiotic supplements, is pleased to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, ... supplements for over 35 years, is proud to add Target to its list ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , ... tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ON (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS ... DNA Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as ... the STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 On Wednesday, June ... 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% ... at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on the ... Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... BIND ). Learn more about these stocks by ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:5/20/2016)...  VoiceIt is excited to announce its new ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass will offer ... take slightly different approaches to voice biometrics, collaboration ... usability. Both ... "This marketing and technology partnership allows ...
(Date:5/3/2016)...  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric identification ... Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system for ... can process multiple complex biometric transactions with high ... face or iris biometrics. It leverages the core ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used in ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... , The analysts forecast the global ... of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):